Vets get more than a 'bit fit' following healthy initiative

White Cross Vets Fitbit challenge Jade Till, Vicky Roberts, Jemma Taylor and dogs Tippi Roberts and Pip Wood.
White Cross Vets Fitbit challenge Jade Till, Vicky Roberts, Jemma Taylor and dogs Tippi Roberts and Pip Wood.
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A group of 60 vets, veterinary nurses and other team members from the White Cross Vets family have now walked a staggering 30,000 miles in just three months following the introduction of a healthy initiative by the company.


White Cross Vets, which is part of the Independent Vetcare group, started the challenge in February, incentivising its entire team by providing them with a £50 contribution towards a new Fitbit watch. The physical activity tracker is designed to help people become more active, eat a more well-rounded diet and sleep better.

So far the 60 people who have taken advantage of the initiative have formed 20 teams of three people, all of whom are competitively logging their steps. Each team member is averaging 11,000 steps per day with the teams from practices at Tividale in the West Midlands, Guiseley near Leeds, West Derby near Liverpool and Alvaston in Derby regularly taking the top spot in the team league table.

Veterinary nurse Ann-Marie Finch Spencer, from White Cross Vets in St Helens, said: “We spend a lot of the day on our feet but really had no idea about the distance that we clock up. There are about 2,000 steps in a mile so we are walking more than five miles every day! We are always encouraging our clients to make sure their pets have a healthy lifestyle, so it’s great to practise what we preach.

“As well as the steps we take throughout the day many of us are also committed to sports and exercise regimes outside work and that has helped us to reach the top of the leader board for a few weeks. You might even find some of us marching on the spot to boost our step-counts and heart rates, so the Fitbit challenge is definitely keeping us active.”

General manager, Jo Jobling, from White Cross Vets, said: “We understand the vital importance of both physical and mental wellbeing, and our Fitbit challenge is a great way for our teams from across our 19 practices to work together to achieve a worthwhile healthy goal, as well as creating some healthy competition with colleagues in other practices. We also have an individual steppers league table which was recently topped by one of our veterinary nurses, Katie Rose from our Tividale practice. It might have helped that she completed a half marathon over the weekend though!”

Last year, White Cross Vets was named as one of the UK’s best employers and a truly extraordinary place to work after securing a place in the prestigious ‘Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For’ league table for the sixth year in a row.

Other leading employment initiatives that the team benefits from include five fully paid donation days each year so they can volunteer to support meaningful causes, ranging from charities to schools and other local organisations in the areas where its practices operate.

Employees also receive a gift when they become new parents or adopt a child and can take ‘peternity leave’, which offers anyone with a new pet, two fully paid days off work to help the pet settle into their new home. In addition, team members enjoy birthdays off with cakes, a health care scheme and subsidised gym membership