Leeds Beckett student designs award winning mental health

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BRIGHT SPARK: Zainah’s programme impressed the judges and she was offered a one year support package worth around £5,000

BRIGHT SPARK: Zainah’s programme impressed the judges and she was offered a one year support package worth around £5,000

Psychological package bags top prize

A student from Leeds Beckett University has won a prestigious Business Advantage Award (BAA) after designing a ‘Corporate Mental Strength Training Programme’.

The BAAs, developed in partnership with Lupton Fawcett Denison Till (LFDT) Solicitors, offered a one year support package worth up to £5,000 of mentoring and legal support to each winner.

Zainah Khan, who was one of this year’s winners, is studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy as well as working in Financial Services at Leeds Beckett.

She is planning to launch Chakra, a Corporate Mental Strength Training Programme, which focuses on increasing the stress-resilience and motivation of managerial staff in the finance and legal industries.

Zainah chose the name ‘Chakra’ as it translates from Ancient Hindi to mean ‘energy point’.

The business will deliver a range of interactive workshops and training sessions which include packages that cover neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness meditation, mental toughness, expressive arts, emotional intelligence and group dynamics.

Speaking about winning the award, Zainah thanked everyone that had helped her along the way and said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won the Business Advantage Award and believe that this incredible opportunity is really going to give Chakra a solid foundation upon launch and beyond.

“I am very excited about working with Lupton Fawcett Denison Till and being able to use their expertise to benefit my consultancy, as well as to expand my knowledge and networks. The initial experience of delivering my business pitch and gaining feedback from the panel has already taught me a huge amount and I look forward to developing myself and the business further with this award.”

Zainah said she designed Chakra because she saw a need for it through her personal experience of working in finance and higher education.

She said: “I have observed the high frequency and impact of stress and poor mental health amongst staff.

“I had witnessed the impact on staff members themselves, their teams and workloads. This told me there was a need to address this problem. Mental health at work is currently high on the government agenda and therefore employers are under pressure to offer support to staff.”

Zainah graduated at Leeds Beckett University in 2012 with a degree in Criminology and Sociology. Through exploring the careers she wanted to pursue, she began volunteering with victims of crime and an organisation supporting perpetrators of domestic abuse.

She said: “A lot of my work was centred around providing emotional support for individuals and groups and I thoroughly enjoyed the reward and value that came from it. There is a certain energy which is produced when you support someone during a time of personal struggle and it motivates them to change; and this is what I wanted to learn more about.”

The awards were open to Leeds Beckett students, graduates and business clients of the University’s Enterprise and Innovation Academy (EIA) and the Digital Hub.

Applicants to the awards had to submit a brief business plan and then deliver a 10 minute presentation on their business to an expert panel.

Daniel McCormack, director at Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, added: “We were very impressed with the quality of start-up businesses that won the Lupton Fawcett Business Advantage Awards in 2015 and very much enjoyed mentoring them and seeing their businesses take off.

“Once again in 2016 we are stunned at such another great set of winners.  My fellow partners and I who will be mentoring them can’t wait to get started.”

The Enterprise and Innovation Academies are currently home to 200 businesses across Leeds and Headingley.

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