Meet the team: Ashley Shephard

Hi I’m Ashley and I’m a Fit 4 Life Officer at Shift. Read on to find out what my role is all about.

On a typical day, where might we find you?

Most of my time is currently spent at Chesterfield Royal Hospital for meetings and appointments with the staff there. I always try and make it as easy as possible for staff to come for an appointment, so usually I can be found at the Education Centre. That way staff can make the most of the nice, open site there and take a walk across the grounds to come and see me. Staff often comment on this being a nice opportunity for them to get away from their desk for 20/30 minutes for a short walk as well as fitting in their appointment.

I can also be found at the various Adult Social Care venues around the Chesterfield area including The Staveley Centre and Hasland Centre amongst others. Again, staff often pop in to see me for a brief appointment at a time that works well around their shift.

Also, as part of my work, I often go along to visit the many different activity and exercise sessions around the communities of Chesterfield. As well as working from home occasionally, my working days are often split between a number of locations due to the nature of the community based work. This has been a good way for me to get used to the area having not worked in Chesterfield before.

What brought you to Shift?

I did my degree in Sport and Exercise Science at NTU and have other sports coaching and fitness qualifications from over the years. I have always worked in a physical activity/health organisation. Before working for Shift, I worked for the NHS in London for mental health and weight management services. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot along the way. When I decided to move back to Derbyshire, I was looking for a similar job. Shift seemed like a good organisation to work for, with the same values about promoting and encouraging exercise as part of everyday life and helping people with specific health conditions to get back into exercise. It’s also a very friendly, sociable place to work.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy doing something I believe in first and foremost. I’ve always enjoyed being active, mainly for the fun and social element, but also to stay fit and healthy. I believe there’s no better way to relax and enjoy life than getting out and doing something active. I honestly believe there is an enjoyable activity out there for everyone! So being able to work for an organisation that truly believes in promoting and encouraging others to be physically active, especially in their local community, makes it easy for me to enjoy my job. Helping people enjoy their life more by doing something active is massively rewarding. Over the last three years working for Shift, it’s been really rewarding to see people turn their lives around through exercise, but also find new ways to enjoy themselves.

What does your role in Fit 4 Life involve?

My role involves me working closely with the staff at both the Chesterfield Royal Hospital and local Adult Social Care sites. The aim is to help staff improve their health and wellbeing and hopefully bring a culture change of promoting and encouraging physical activity in the workplace. I’m hoping this leads to people being happier both in and out of work as well as having a wider impact on the workplace; reducing sickness, stress and making people feel more valued at work.

I meet with the staff on a one-to-one basis for fortnightly appointments over a 12 week period to help and encourage them to be more physically active. Staff can choose to wear an activity tracker wrist band to monitor their progress over the 12 weeks, giving them regular feedback on the exercise and activity levels, sedentary time as well as details on how this is impacting their sleep patterns. With most of the staff working in sedentary, but stressful environments, this can be very helpful feedback to help them make informed choices and be more aware of how their physical health can affect their mental health.

I’m working closely with staff in HR at Chesterfield Hospital to encourage staff to take part in exercise outside of working hours together as well. For example, some staff have started going to exercise classes together, signed up for charity walks and we even had a Chesterfield Hospital staff takeover of the local Parkrun at Poolsbrook Park, where staff both volunteered and participated in the event. The staff enjoyed it so much, we have another takeover date planned for later in the summer to do the same again.

What’s your favourite hobby?

Cycling is probably my main hobby now. I only got into it around two years ago, but I bought myself a posh road bike and I’ve been hooked ever since. I try and get out at least twice a week round the local Derbyshire countryside. Prior to that, football was always my main hobby. I used to play and train three to four times a week before realising I was maybe getting too old for it. I still play six aside with my friends every Monday but the cycling is definitely better for my knees!

What’s your favourite place?

I would have to say Lossiemouth, Scotland. It’s where my mum is from and is a really nice, quiet old fishing village. It’s very peaceful, has beautiful scenery and great ice cream! Outside the UK, I’d have to say Las Vegas. A crazy, but very fun place.

What’s your favourite quote?

Don’t count the days, make the days count (Mohammed Ali).

How would colleagues describe you in a few words?

A very friendly laid back, approachable guy. A bit uncool but willing to help out anyone as best as he can. Needs the odd lesson on using social media!


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