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New sabbatical scheme open to voluntary sector employees
10th Sep 2021

The Somerset Integrated Care System (ICS) has developed a sabbatical scheme which aims to improve the wellbeing of the health and social care workforce, reduce sickness absence, and increase retention

They have secured funding from NHS England and Improvement and have an exciting opportunity for one employee within Somerset to undertake a period of short-term sabbatical leave within the UK for up to 3 months. This opportunity is also open to paid employees of voluntary sector organisations working in health and social care across Somerset.

A sabbatical is a period of leave to enable an employee to step back from their role at work to focus on their personal enrichment and professional development. The sabbatical scheme pilot forms part of the ICS Health and Wellbeing strategy (including pastoral care) and is designed to give people the opportunity to take a break from their employment to enhance their health and wellbeing.

The funding that has been awarded for this exploratory pilot is £20,000, however if you choose to undertake your sabbatical within another ICS, you will be entitled to an additional £10,000. You may use this money however may be appropriate, for example to fund travel and accommodation costs, and you must be able to demonstrate how you plan to use it.

While the sabbatical offer is broad, you must be able to demonstrate how it will support your health and wellbeing, and how it will benefit your organisation. You are therefore encouraged to interpret and explore what a sabbatical might mean for you. You may, for example, choose to explore one of the following areas:

  • Spiritual or religious growth, or pastoral care
  • Enhancing physical or mental health
  • Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Union staff side engagement
  • Cultural networks
  • Undertaking a course in an area of interest in health, wellbeing, and pastoral care
  • Alternative health and wellbeing (i.e. yoga, energy therapies, massage)

If this is something that interests you, please have a preliminary conversation with a manager or your HR Separtment so that they are aware of your intention to apply and you have their approval to do so. You will then need to fill out the expression of interest form and email it to by Monday 27th September. Your expression of interest will be reviewed by a panel and you may be invited for an informal chat to talk about your proposal in more detail.

Applications from ethnic minority communities, people with disabilities, LGBT+ people, veterans and younger people who are under-represented in Somerset are particularly welcome. 

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about the scheme, please get in touch with