North East businesswomen join forces to tackle eco-anxiety

North East businesswomen, Claire Thew and Clare Blunt, have joined forces to help tackle eco-anxiety.

February 2, 2021

Two businesswomen from the North East have combined their expertise to help organisations create more socially and environmentally connected workplaces.

Clare Blunt and Claire Thew, both from Tynemouth, have launched Venture Zero – a brand dedicated to highlighting how the areas of mental wellbeing and environmental sustainability are related. With many organisations moving to hybrid working and emphasising carbon reduction, the pair believe it’s more important than ever to put the right support structures in place for staff.

Recent studies have found that the climate crisis is taking a growing toll on people’s mental health, with ‘eco-anxiety’ rising across all age groups. More time spent working from home also increases the risk of staff feeling lonely and isolated. Venture Zero engages with people to demonstrate that there are ways to minimise these negative effects and improve physical and mental health, whilst reducing the environmental impact.  

Ms Blunt, who has more than 25 years’ experience working in the mental health sector, including delivering mental health training and coaching, said: “We know that mental health is firmly on everyone’s agenda now, particularly coming out of the pandemic. Many, but sadly not all, workplaces are taking proactive steps to support the wellbeing of their employees.

“However, the new landscape of hybrid working requires a different level of engagement, with the need for a deeper understanding of the current mental health issues facing the workforce. These issues, coupled with the ever-increasing concern for the planet, are significantly impacting how people want to live their lives in both professional and personal environments.”

Ms Thew, who has worked in the environmental sector for nearly 20 years delivering public communication campaigns, added: “Now, more than ever, we need to engage with organisations on climate change so they understand the effect this will have on their business and surrounding communities. There needs to be a top-down, bottom-up approach if we are to reach the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Everyone has a part to play, and we believe in encouraging people to make those small changes that will ultimately lead to bigger, more positive impacts.

Through Venture Zero, they partner with organisations to help them find sustainable ways of positively impacting their team’s wellbeing and engaging staff in the decisions relating to the ‘Net Zero’ agenda. They are currently working cross-sector with clients to deliver employee engagement programmes, training and workshops, and purpose-driven away days. They also offer accredited training in Mental Health First Aid and Carbon Literacy.

If organisations want to thrive, they need to create environments where people feel listened to, valued, and supported.

Ms Blunt added: “With the growing awareness around mental health and climate change, it makes good business sense to listen to people's thoughts and feelings about these issues. If organisations want to thrive, they need to create environments where people feel listened to, valued, and supported. The way to achieve this is to take action to improve their triple bottom line. This means they need to invest in and take care of their people, the planet, and their profit.”

Both also share a passion for the local community. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), they are delivering a series of activities and workshops at the Fish Quay Hub, North Shields. The Hub is the base for North East Homeless – a registered charity providing support to those who are vulnerable and homeless in the region. Activities across the week include a free drop-in to combat loneliness, a ‘Climate Connections’ workshop, and a guided tour of the Fish Quay itself, run by volunteers from Newcastle City Guides.

In developing the Venture Zero brand, the pair worked with The Pulse Rooms – an award-winning growth agency in North Shields. The agency helped them to clearly define their vision and value proposition. They also created the brand’s full visual identity.

Speaking about the partnership, Ms Blunt said: “When working with The Pulse Rooms, you get so much more than you expect. We thought we needed a logo and a website, but what we actually got was a clear vision and value proposition for the business, which has allowed us to move forward with confidence and clarity.”