Braintree Council has been commended as one of the most healthy and active places to work in Essex.

The council has made the final three shortlist for Active Essex's Workplace of the Year Award.

Staff organise weekly activity sessions including badminton, football and DVD exercise classes, and nominated Livewell Champions promote health and wellbeing at the council.

Peter Tattersley, councillor responsible for health and communities, said: “I am so pleased that Braintree District Council has been shortlisted for Workplace of the Year at this year’s Active Essex Sports Awards.

"We offer a range of activities to our staff as well as provide them with health information and advice as part of our Livewell Champions programme.

"This acknowledgement really does showcase our commitment towards encouraging healthy lifestyles and physical activity within the workplace and hope that our experience will encourage other organisations to imitate.”

Schemes such as cycle to work, allowing staff to purchase biking equipment via tax free deductions from their paycheck, and the workplace challenge programme, in which members of staff compete to collect points by completing sporting challenges, have become extremely popular with workers.

A shape up programme has also been set up to help staff who are looking to follow a more healthy diet and lifestyle.

Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has made the shortlist, with Maldon District Council making up the top three.

Azeem Akhtar, chairman of Active Essex, said: "The standard of entries has very high and it is very positive to see such passion for sport and physical activity around the county.

"I would like to congratulate all those who have been shortlisted and wish everyone the best of luck at the awards.”

Winners in all of the categories will be announced at a ceremony at Chelmsford City Racecourse on Tuesday, December 5.