Government officials spend £500,000 on mindfulness applications

Government officials spend £500,000 on mindfulness applications

Celebrities including Idris Elba and Kate Winslet read bedtime stories to lull users to sleep as part of £500,000 of taxpayer funds spent by government employees on mindfulness applications.

The applications, which may cost up to £10 per month, provide guided meditations, such as ‘creating a secure space’ and’soothing anxieties at night,’ along with stories read by celebrities.

The expenditure during a crisis in the cost of living has been criticized by critics, who have urged government agencies to reconsider their spending decisions.

Civil servants have spent £500,000 of taxpayer money on mindfulness applications that feature celebrities such as Idris Elba and Kate Winslet (pictured) reading bedtime stories to users in order to help them fall asleep.

According to government contracts seen by The Telegraph, six government departments have spent £490,000 on wellness services over the past two years.Calm, a Silicon-Valley founded app with more than four million users, includes stories read by Idris Elba (pictured), including the title 'Kingdom of the Sky'

The Department for Education (DFe), the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), and the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) all subscribed to Headspace, an app created by a former Buddhist monk from Bristol.

The app, which has more than two million subscribers, offers “sleep casts” to assist listeners fall asleep, such as “vineyard sunset” and “midnight laundrette.”

The resource for staff cost DEFRA £266,100 over the past two years, according to a newspaper article.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) spent £45,124 on the app Calm, which was founded in Silicon Valley and has over four million users.

It includes stories read by Idris Elba, including “Kingdom of the Sky,” and Kate Winslet reading “Thomas and the North Star,” a children’s bedtime story.

The app also has Dame Mary Berry narrating a story about a tea party.

Previously, the company’s head of sleep stories, Chris Advansun, stated that the narrated stories allow adults “to reconnect to what was one of the most comfortable and relaxing experiences they had as children.”

The Cabinet Office also purchased meditation services through Unmind for its employees, spending £102,456 for guided sessions and a personal diary for participants to record their “thoughts and feelings.”

Calm, an app established in Silicon Valley with over four million users, features stories read by Idris Elba (above), such as “Kingdom of the Sky.”

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told The Telegraph: ‘It will come as no relief to working households that civil officials are in a Zen-like condition while important resources are wasted.’

He stated that government employees should consider whether the expenditure is a “appropriate use of cash.”

David Jones, Conservative Member of Parliament for Clwyd West, told the newspaper that Whitehall’s duty of care does not include spending £500,000 of taxpayer funds on what amounts to little more than bedtime stories for grownups.

A representative for the government told The Telegraph, ‘We are committed to delivering the best value for money, reducing waste and inefficiency, and ensuring that every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent in the most efficient manner possible.

As a responsible employer, we continue to enhance our approach to employee health and well-being so that they may perform at their highest level.

 

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