Yorkshire-based start-up quadruples in size since the start of the pandemic

Harry Bliss

A Yorkshire-based workplace wellbeing startup has more than doubled in size since the start of the pandemic, growing from two full-time staff members to more than eight in the last year.

Champion Health is a digital wellbeing platform that enables UK businesses to support and improve their employees’ wellbeing.

Based in Sheffield, the company was founded by Chief Executive Officer Harry Bliss and Chief Creative Director Ricky Bailey. It was after losing a close friend to suicide in 2018, as a result of workplace stress, that Harry set out on a mission to change and save lives through Champion Health.

A key aim of the organisation is for all employees to put proactive wellbeing and support measures in place and create cultures where there isn’t a fear of talking about mental or physical health problems.

The missional startup has grown exponentially over the last year, leading to a significant expansion of the team. Champion Health has hired six new full-time team members and over 50 new external experts and contributors, ranging from GPs to academics. The new full-time hires are; Alex Bennet as Marketing Lead, Laura Dallas as Wellbeing Lead, Joe Pindar as Wellbeing Executive, Myles Fearnley as Head of Videography, Steve Brumpton as Lead Software Engineer and a soon-to-be announced Head of Impact.

Alex Bennett joined Champion Health following a role at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and is the startup’s first marketing-focused employee. Alex’s role will focus on building the organisation’s marketing strategy.

Alex said: ‘After losing my brother to suicide in 2018, I was following Champion’s Head of Mission, Steve Phillip, on LinkedIn – as he was also bereaved by suicide and somewhat of a LinkedIn personality. He shared Champion’s post regarding the role’s recruitment and the rest is history.

“I was drawn to the mission of Champion Health as it really is about changing and saving lives and tackling and therefore preventing mental health or wellbeing issues, as soon as they arise. I love working in a young and energetic team of people who share my personal values and are prepared to stick to them in a business environment.”

Laura Dallas has joined Champion Health from the NHS memory service, where she worked as an assistant psychologist supporting those affected by dementia.

As Wellbeing Lead, she heads up everything wellbeing-related in the team. In the role, Laura devises and delivers Health and Wellbeing strategies for clients as well as delivering wellbeing reports. She has also worked closely on the development and innovation around Champion Health’s new platform.

Laura said: “The guys I work with are great and so supportive it really feels like I have a second family. The work itself is exciting, fast-paced and very varied. No two days are the same, and that always keeps me on my toes! I also love working with our clients and it’s refreshing to see the motivation and drive that many of them have to make their workplace a healthier environment for their employees. That’s what it’s all about really.”

Champion Health was founded in 2018 and has seen rapid growth since the onset of the pandemic. The organisation made its online mental health training platform free in response to the impact of Covid-19 on employee mental wellbeing in March last year.

This led to the platform being used by hundreds of organisations and thousands of people, ensuring thousands had the skills to improve their mental health and support others who may be struggling.

Champion Health is part of TwinklHive, a Sheffield-based business accelerator created by the global educational publisher Twinkl. TwinklHive provides residency, investment and a range of business support to emerging companies that make a difference. Champion Health joined the Hive in August 2020, helping the startup accelerate its growth through the business support functions offered by TwinklHive.

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