by Wendy Eley, Director of Strategy and Human Resources, Civil Service Sports Council.

Nour Sidawi
May 29 · 5 min read
Wendy Ely, Director of Strategy and HR, Civil Service Sports Council.

Hello, my name is Wendy and I am the Director of Strategy and HR at the Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC). Our membership is exclusively for Civil Servants, public sector workers and the Armed Forces, and we offer some great and unique opportunities for members to look after their wellbeing through sport and leisure activities across the country (my personal favourite is the alpaca trekking!)

CSSC is approaching its Centenary in 2021. As part of our preparation for this, I discovered from our Heritage lead that the very first membership card was issued to Richard Cox from the Customs and Excise Department. It was truly fitting that the first card went to him, as it was his open letter to the Civil Service to set up a sport association representative for every branch of the Civil Service — this led to our creation!

He said:

“…the formation of such as Association would give a welcome fillip to sport and would inevitably benefit the health of the Civil Service individually and collectively.”

What is so remarkable is that this is still our ethos today; something which every fabulous member of Head Office and all of our remarkable volunteers believe in to their core and strive to improve every day.

Why is CSSC supporting One Team Gov Wellbeing Camp, held in Leeds on 6 June?

CSSC is all about wellbeing — it is so important to take the time to look after your physical and mental health. I was once told that you can’t pour from an empty vessel, and that rings true when considering the almost unprecedented challenges the Civil Service is facing at the moment.

In order to put your best into your work you need to be healthy in body and mind.

This is the reason that CSSC recently introduced the Physical Activity Fund to enable members to apply for funding to set up activities in their workplaces, and why we’re so pleased to be involved with Wellbeing Camp.

I’m hoping that attendees go away from Wellbeing Camp having learnt new ways to improve their wellbeing, an understanding of why it is so important, and what opportunities are out there to make looking after yourself fun.

Plus the chance to meet like-minded individuals from different areas, departments and backgrounds who can form networks for the future.

What does wellbeing mean for me?

I joined the Civil Service in 1999 as an admin assistant, rising through the grades to Senior Civil Service, so I know the challenges that civil servants face on a daily basis and the importance of creating and having opportunities to take care of yourself.

Over the years I, like many others, have experienced mental health challenges and I personally find that regular exercise and the chance to enjoy fresh air and friendship keeps my mind balanced and my body healthy. If I stop then I see an almost immediate deterioration in my energy and my ability to do my job well.

The main reason I decided to move to CSSC was because my membership has offered me so much over the past twenty years. I’ve attended taster days to try something new, have made wide and diverse friendships, and have got free entry to so many beautiful sites to lift my spirits. (I also saved lots of money through the cashback I’ve gained from re-loadable shopping cards! Shopping and saving money — definitely good for my wellbeing!)

I knew that CSSC could provide an even wider variety of activities to meet the Civil Service wellbeing priorities. I wanted to be in an area than could really deliver tangible change to the daily lives of civil servants.

Who is better placed to help grow that offer than someone who has lived and breathed those challenges for their whole career?! (I clearly used that line in my interview!)

What’s your top tip?

Be selfish. Don’t ever think that looking after yourself comes second. You are doing the best thing for your department, your friends and your family if you prioritise your wellbeing.

Find something that you love and don’t let anyone try and steer you down another path or discourage you. I love yoga and weightlifting…it causes some raised eyebrows — and my yoga moves can often result in life threatening injuries to anybody within 500 feet, but I love it, that is all that matters.

Own who you are. In the words of a great yoga instructor “you are a human being not a human just be..”

And finally…

CSSC is providing some exciting activities as part of Wellbeing Camp, and will have a stand where you can come and chat to our team as well.

You’ll be able to find out more about CSSC membership and how we can help improve your wellbeing both in and outside of work. Our friendly support team will be there to answer all of your questions and tell you about our upcoming events.

For example, the Civil Service Active Wellbeing Week runs from 01–05 July.

This is the second year that CSSC has worked in partnership with Civil Service Employee Policy (CSEP) to create a week where people can focus on their wellbeing. Last year was successful, but we want this year to be even better!

You can make a pledge on the website to do something to improve your own personal wellbeing and be in with a chance of winning one of many prizes during the week too!

Finally, take a look at our website:

…which tells you all about us and provides loads more information about upcoming events.

I look forward to seeing you at #WellbeingCamp on the 6th June!



UK policymakers, service designers, digital professionals and others working out how we can make government more effective. #oneteamgov

Nour Sidawi

Written by

Commercial Manager, @UKCivilService. Change is for everyone #TemperedRadical. Beavering away to take @OneTeamGov Global 🌍 Views are my own.


UK policymakers, service designers, digital professionals and others working out how we can make government more effective. #oneteamgov

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