Suffolk County Council is one of the largest employers in Suffolk and proud to be the first ever county council in the UK to have a Vegan Staff Network.
Sadie Cable, Project Manager for Adult and Community Services, at Suffolk Country Council tells us about her mission to inspire her colleagues to try vegan and feel supported by the workplace Vegan Staff Network.
The network provides a supportive environment for its members, whilst also contributing to corporate agendas and decisions where the issues will impact upon its members.
We launched in January this year and as part of our launch celebration, we took up the Veganuary Workplace Challenge. We showcased three colleagues who took the centre stage and blogged about their experiences for the month, taking us through their successes and (cheese) fails!
Each of the bloggers had a slightly different spin on Veganuary. Lauren went full vegan. Jason did the same, but also had a specific focus on reducing the amount of processed foods in his diet. Hannah did a version of Veganuary, doing three days her usual diet, two veggie and two vegan.
The blogs were a real success as they were all so relatable to other colleagues. Their honest writing and the conversations they had with people were ‘normal’ to those around them and this can help make veganism feel more achievable. There is often a stigma around veganism being too difficult or too expensive and these guys sharing their stories broke down those barriers.
Hannah’s blog was really different because it wasn’t promoting being completely vegan. As someone who is vegan, I naturally want the whole world to make the switch asap! But Hannah’s story really resonated with people. Sometimes, when you have a young family and a partner who may not be completely there yet, you have to take them on the journey with you, not kicking and screaming. This was Hannah’s way of educating her family (and herself) by introducing new meals gradually. People respond in different ways, for some it’s a gradual process, others it’s overnight.
Lauren mentions in her blog the documentary ‘What the Health’ was really eye opening for her. It’s become really clear during January that these types of documentaries are having a big impact on people’s perspectives and are educating people in a really accessible way.
As someone who has been vegan for a few years, it was really refreshing to remember the trials and tribulations, emotions and awakenings you have when you first go vegan. Every person who goes on their vegan journey has a different angle and sees things from different perspectives. I learnt a lot from each of them and they made me consider new things I hadn’t before.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest in the staff network and the number of hits the Veganuary blogs are getting. Our main campus restaurant has been really supportive and put on daily vegan hot and cold options, prepared sandwiches, and plant milks for hot drinks. It was so successful that they have committed to this as an ongoing offer and even started introducing fresh pastries and cooked breakfast options (thank you Vertas!). The network is now looking to work with other council campuses with restaurants to increase their vegan food offerings.
I have to say, the Veganuary resources have been such a positive addition to help people on their journey. A few colleagues not blogging signed up off the back of the blogs and materials shared internally. If you’re interested in giving the blogs a read, please do visit our network website here. You can also get in touch with the network chairs via email at [email protected].
Fancy encouraging your workplace to try vegan this month? Read all about the vegan workplace challenge.