Online HGV drivers health and well-being conference hosted by North Northamptonshire Council

25 April 2024

North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) teamed up with partners across the county and the UK last week to host an online HGV Drivers health and well-being conference.

The event attracted 120 people and showcased the previous award-winning work of NNC with industry leaders. It also raised awareness nationally in supporting this transient and often invisible community which is so vital to this country’s economy.    

Last year the council’s Community and Well-being, Environmental Health and Public Health teams reached the final of the MJ Awards 2023 in the Transforming Lives category for their work alongside Welcome Break in supporting HGV drivers using Rothwell Truck Stop. 

This conference builds on that work which aimed at improving the mental and physical well-being within the driving community. 

HGV drivers commonly experience mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and stress, all of which impact their ability to work effectively and safely. Their physical health can also be affected due to the sedentary nature of their work.  

Challenges unique to their profession, include: 

  • Long periods of isolation on the road and time away from family  
  • Dealing with traffic jams and unforeseen issues on the roads, such as road closures or construction  
  • Being on the receiving end, daily, of the general public’s hostility and impatience  
  • High-pressure delivery requirements due to the ongoing driver shortage   
  • Long queues at ports post-Brexit  
  • Having to rely on inadequate facilities at truck stops.

Speaking at the conference were leading professors from the Universities of Northampton and Manchester, Cllr Matthew Binley Executive member for Highways, Travel and Assets, officers from NNC’s Public Health, Community Wellbeing and Environmental Health teams, representatives from the Road Haulage Association, Kettering MIND and Welcome Break. 

The previous event received national recognition with the work being Highly Commended at the MJ Awards and the team have built on this success with this year’s event.  
It was wonderful to hear so many people from all over the country talking about North Northants Council being a leading light in this area of work.  We were described as innovative and forward thinking, which is exactly what we want to be known for.
North Northamptonshire Director of Public Health Jane Bethea 
HGV drivers are the lifeblood of the UK industry and with drivers being in such short supply, maintaining a strong and healthy workforce to drive the haulage industry is essential to success.  

We hope showcasing the impact of our initiative and others to stakeholders from across the UK may provide inspiration and motivation to make facilities a better place for HGV drivers. 
Cllr Gill Mercer, the council’s Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing


It is well established that HGV drivers are exposed to a number of health-related risk factors such as shift work, long periods of sitting, which contribute towards chronic conditions and I’m delighted that NNC have been so prominent in leading this work. 

The welfare of driver’s health and wellbeing is a key issue for not only existing drivers and employers, but also for supporting to increase recruitment and retention to the profession.
Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

Officers from NNC’s Public Health, the Community and Wellbeing Team and Environmental Health are continuing to work in partnership with Welcome Break and the Road Haulage Association to support the wellbeing of drivers.   

Health and wellbeing events have been organised and drivers are given the opportunity to speak to the team, use body composition scales, and have their blood pressure checked and have insightful conversations.  

Results of this great work the Welcome Break Rothwell Truck Stop are: 

  • Cycle and walking routes from the site.   
  • Exercise session plans for the gym are being implemented  
  • Suicide awareness training for Welcome Break staff has taken place, this gives people the skills and tools needed to have open conversations about mental health   
  • Nutritional recommendations and influencing behaviour changes - the menu at the Truckstop has added the option of healthier sides including fresh vegetables and new potatoes   
  • Welcome Break have provided a room at the site to use to promote health and wellbeing of HGV drivers    
  • Reaching out to Logistics forums, Logistics companies face a shortage of qualified drivers with too many drivers losing their HGV licences long before retirement age because of ill health. These companies will notice the benefit of supporting lorry driver health in the long-term.   
  • Resources available  
  • An area has been added to display health and wellbeing leaflets and resources.  
  • PTSD UK invited us to provide a guest blog for their website and social media platforms, this can be seen here