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I have been reflecting on the last year and the many achievements and milestones both I and the Institute reached – and then was shocked to realise I haven’t been in post 6 months yet! It feels like longer, but in the best way.

I am fortunate, though, because as we enter the New Year, I don’t just have lots to look back on - there is much to look forward to in 2020. There is a great deal of activity lined up, including some which is the culmination of months or years of hard work.

I won’t give away too many spoilers but here are three things for the first half of the year that I’m excited to share with members and with the wider construction community.

Today we launch a new service for members via our Benevolent Fund. The CIOB’s Benevolent Fund, set up in 1992 to support members struggling with employment or financial issues, is teaming up with Anxiety UK to deliver a specialised programme of support for CIOB members and their families to help those living with anxiety and stress.

This is an entirely new service for CIOB members to access and a hugely positive development for the Benevolent Fund. From today, CIOB members can access this additional service, focussed entirely on an individual’s need for wellbeing and mental health support, free at the point of use. There’s more information about this important announcement on the news section of our web site.

This is an issue I feel strongly about, and I’m delighted – both as CEO and as a Benevolent Fund trustee – to be able to offer this additional support, not just to all CIOB members and their dependents, but also to all CIOB staff.

This year we’ll also be launching our report, The Economic Value of Construction in the UK, which has taken months to research and compile. It will set out how much our industry is worth to the UK economy, with regional breakdowns to show the patterns of activity and also the opportunities in each part of the UK. We had this lined up for launch at a parliamentary reception in December but put it on hold to focus on our public affairs work around the election campaign. We’re planning to launch the report later this month and will be using the research to make the case to policymakers and parliamentarians to get construction high on the political agenda and ensure support for the industry.

The third of our early 2020 activities to look forward to is the release of our report on the findings from our mental health in construction survey, carried out last year. We had more than 2000 responses from people in the industry and our policy team has been working to analyse the results and develop recommendations for both the construction sector and policymakers. The report will set out the main issues raised in the survey, the impact these issues have on individuals and those around them and what support is currently proving to be effective. We’re hoping to have that report ready for release in May, in advance of Mental Health Awareness Week.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the members who have helped us along the way with these activities by raising the profile of the work we’re doing or giving us their survey responses or other feedback. I want to see these things used to serve our sector and support those who support all of us by working to create the built environment around us.

Happy New Year – here’s to 2020!