Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) is one of the largest specialist mental health providers in the country. GMMH provide inpatient and community-based mental health care for people living in Bolton, the city of Manchester, Salford, Trafford and Wigan, and offer a wide range of specialist mental health and addiction services across Greater Manchester and beyond. They also provide Health and Justice Services in several custodial settings, which includes prisons and secure facilities for children and young people. GMMH employs over 6,400 members of staff and in a 12-month period expect to meet the needs of around 65,000 people. Juliette Tait, Acting Director of HR, explains the importance of rewarding the Trust’s hardworking employees for the vital work they do, by paying them the real Living Wage - for the real cost of living.

We became the first Living Wage accredited NHS trust in the North West in October 2015 and celebrated our 7-year anniversary last month. The pockets of deprivation across the North West, particularly some of our core areas in Salford and Manchester, has significantly impacted on both the physical and mental wellbeing of these communities. By being a Living Wage Employer, GMMH is demonstrating our commitment to the local economy and, as a result, the health and happiness of the people of Greater Manchester.

The cost of living is something that is impacting all of us in these current times, and none more so for those in lower pay bands. Paying the real Living Wage is the right thing to do as a responsible employer to ensure our staff feel rewarded and know how much we value them. Studies have shown the link between low pay and an increased risk of poor physical and mental health. In fact, The Living Wage Foundation released research which showed 42% workers paid below a real Living Wage said this negatively impacted the quality of life, which is why we choose to take a stand and why GMMH remains the only NHS trust in the North West to pay this rate of pay. I know this makes a difference to the financial wellbeing of our staff and I’m proud we are able to make this commitment to our workforce.

During the COVID-19 crisis, colleagues across GMMH worked incredibly hard to look after our service users and run vaccination centres. This was an unprecedented national health emergency, and our staff demonstrated their commitment and dedication to GMMH and those we care for. They embodied the Trust’s values of compassion, respect, hope and honesty. Paying the real Living Wage is an extension of these same values by providing our staff with a fair wage and committing to this as an organisation.

Another motivation for us is our partnership with an internship scheme for young people which helps young people with extra support needs to access support, education and work experience. These interns often move into permanent job roles with us after completing the Supported Internship programme. As the real Living Wage applies to all workers over eighteen, we think it’s important to recognise that young people have the same living costs as everyone else. We want our young staff to know that we value them and their career with us.

Paying the real Living Wage illustrates to our award-winning staff that GMMH is committed to ensuring pay stability, in line with the cost of living, so they can rest assured that they have a secure future with us.