Van Excellence’s initiative with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) which aims to increase awareness of and conversations about mental health among van drivers has won the Innovation Award at the Company Van Today Awards at a ceremony.

The award was presented in recognition of the Van Excellence team’s dedication to breaking down the stigma around mental health and raising awareness of the resources available for van drivers who may be struggling with their own health issues.

Mark Cartwright, Head of Vans and Light Commercial Vehicles at FTA, which administers the Van Excellence scheme, explains why the campaign is so powerful: “When we first heard that one in five van drivers describes their mental health as poor or very poor, we were inspired to take action. Despite its prevalence, mental health problems remain undiscussed, with drivers who suffer remaining silent for fear of stigma or an unawareness of the resources available. That’s why we launched the CALM Van scheme; it is high time mental health and the solutions for the problems it creates are brought out of the shadows and into the spotlight.”

Under the CALM Van scheme, vehicle hire and leasing companies are encouraged to provide support packs and information to all customers. Crafted by Van Excellence, in association with the charity’s key advisers, the packs promote CALM’s support services and are available to all those leasing through member organisations including Arval, Activa, Reflex Vans, Arnold Clark and Venson Automotive Solutions.

Cartwright continued: “Van Excellence is a scheme to promote the safe and efficient operation of vans; as such, we understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. Van drivers often operate in highly pressured and lonely environments, and the combination of tight deadlines and isolation can lead to stress, exhaustion and poor nutrition. We are committed to improving the wellbeing of all drivers and hope our campaign will help to overcome the stigma associated with this illness and provide much-needed support.”

“The importance of good mental health among light commercial vehicle drivers is a massively underestimated issue; Van Excellence’s efforts to drive awareness bring it to the forefront are a vital and incredibly commendable move,” commented Tom Webster, the Editor of Company Van Today. “This is a growing issue that businesses need to embrace, and the organisation’s efforts are a crucial first step in helping fleets begin to understand their responsibilities.”

Andrew Brown, Director of Corporate Partnerships at CALM, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with the FTA to bring CALM into the world of van drivers, providing much needed help and advice, especially for those independent drivers that don’t benefit from corporate support.”