Why I’m supporting the Make it Visible campaign

As many of you know, I’ve been involved with fundraising for many years, taking part in challenges and events to raise money for local and national good causes.

Now that I am running my own business, I want to maintain that commitment. So I’ve been talking to Bill Hill, CEO at the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity – the Lighthouse Club, about how I can help.



While we were talking, Bill spoke about the charity’s Make it Visible campaign. An industry-wide taskforce that was launched at the beginning of this year. The campaign’s goals are to:

  • unite the industry’s wellbeing projects into one major recognisable movement
  • investigate, qualify and publish best practice from home and abroad
  • implement services that deliver measurable improvement to the welfare and wellbeing of our workforce in the shortest period of time
  • promote a more proactive, preventative approach to wellbeing across construction
  • drive long term culture change within the industry to promote equality, diversity inclusion, fairness and respect that will ultimately promote construction as a career choice for generations to come

“The sad fact is that the construction industry has the highest number of suicides of all industries in the UK,” says Bill. “By working to understand why this is, and how we can help, the industry as a whole can make a difference. It’s important to say that this isn’t about statistics – it’s about protecting the lives of the people we work with day in, day out.”

For the businesses I know best – those in the contract scaffolding and scaffolding hire and sales industry – it’s important to be aware of the pressures and challenges faced by the people we work with. There’s still a strong culture of ‘keep quiet and keep working’, and that culture is never positive or beneficial. Far better to encourage someone in your team to talk, than to lose them altogether.

When support matters

As many of you will know, I had my own brush with mental health difficulties when I was younger. Before then, I would definitely have been in the ‘keep quiet’ brigade. In fact, I did keep quiet, and that made the whole thing worse. I was just 26, and I was not working for nine months – and for a month, I could barely get out of bed to face the day. What helped me through was the support of my wife, Debbie – there was really no other support available at that time.

I was worried about what effect my breakdown would have on my future career. As I told Construction News in 2018, I believe the root cause was the lack of support available when I started a new role, in a new area, as a supervisor of a team of 40 men.

It was a clear example of just giving someone a position that they couldn’t actually cope with, with no training and with no support mechanism. And they must have seen the signs clearly. It was a very pressurised position. I wasn’t given any real support with it.

Of course, even today, not every business takes this seriously or gives their people the support they need. That needs to change, in my opinion – if you are running a business, you have a responsibility for the physical and mental wellbeing of the people you hire. You should absolutely make mental health awareness part of everything you do.

But for those people who work in businesses where they don’t feel the support is there, it’s important that there is somewhere to go. And that’s where Make it Visible can help.

What is Make it Visible all about?

The goal of Make it Visible is to make sure that everyone working in the construction industry can access help and support 24/7. The campaign has a dedicated website, and apps available on the App Store and Google Play, and the Lighthouse Charity Helpline operates in the UK (0345 605 1956) and Republic of Ireland (1800 939 122).

The campaign covers the three central pillars of wellbeing – emotional, physical and financial. All of these elements can give us challenges individually, but quite often they come together. So Make it Visible is designed to give people access to the support you need – in whatever way suits them best.

“We don’t just wait for people to come to us,” explains Bill. “We’ve set up Make it Visible Onsite, where we have a team of people going out to construction companies, builder’s merchants, hire centres and sites across the UK and Ireland. We give toolbox-style talks to the whole site, delivered by tradespeople who have been through hard times themselves. It’s real experience, delivered by real people, showing how important it is to get support, and making it clear where you can get that support fast when you need it.”

Over the remainder of the year, these onsite tours are taking place in East Anglia, Kent, the North East, Nottingham, the South West, Leeds and York, Essex and the North West. You can follow the link above to find out more and request a site visit.

My commitment to Make it Visible

As I start to build my new business, I want to make a public commitment to the charity. I will donate 2.5% of my income to the Lighthouse Charity every six months. For any speaking engagement I take on, I’ll give the charity 25%, and I’m putting together a challenge that will help me to raise even more.

And, alongside this article, I’ve put out a LinkedIn challenge: I’m giving £5 for every repost of this article, and £1 for every new person who follows me. Both these have a limit of £500, which means the Lighthouse Charity will get £1000 just from this article.

Donate to the Lighthouse Charity

If you’d like to get involved with the charity, whether it’s a regular annual donation, making it your chosen charity, or a special challenge, you can find out more here. You can also donate directly here if you’d like to.