Birmingham Arenas' Mental Health First Aiders receive prestigious industry award

28 April 2020 Jaime Davies

A group of kind-hearted employees at NEC Group Arenas (Utilita Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena) have been recognised with an industry award for their hard work as Mental Health First Aiders.

The volunteers, who are both employees of NEC Group and CBRE, were awarded The StadiumBusiness Award for Sustainability and Community, which praised their efforts in looking after the mental health of the Arenas’ audiences. Their mental health support has so far helped hundreds of concert-goers, with the service receiving a wealth of glowing customer feedback.

The idea of having Mental Health First Aiders available at NEC Group’s Arenas was developed by Senior Event Manager Ellie Coombes. Ellie had identified that although the buzzing and bustling atmosphere of an arena show is fun for many, for people with mental health problems, the experience can be overwhelming. She then worked to ensure that a number of her fellow employees got the training they needed to keep others mentally fit and to undertake early intervention if they see someone struggling.

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Mental Health First Aiders at Resorts World Arena


The NEC Group currently has 20 employees trained as Mental Health First Aiders, whose service was first launched at Ariana Grande’s The Sweetener World Tour at Arena Birmingham (now Utilita Arena Birmingham) in September 2019. More Mental Health First Aiders are being trained up over the coming months, with plans to roll the initiative out across further shows.

Guy Dunstan, Managing Director of NEC Group Arenas, said: “We are delighted to have won a StadiumBusiness Award for our Mental Health First Aider initiative. Mental wellbeing is hugely important to us at the NEC Group and over recent months we’ve put a real emphasis on making sure our employees’ mental health is looked after, but it’s just as important that we look after those visiting our venues.

“This employee-led initiative is a first in the arenas industry and something we’re incredibly proud to be able to offer. The glowing feedback we have received shows it has made a huge positive impact on our audiences already, and we look forward to rolling it out over even more future shows.”