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We are aspiring to become an ever increasingly inclusive organisation where diversity in all its forms is recognised and celebrated

This month’s blog is a take-over by our Director of Operations on the Isle of Man Anne Seed. Anne also chairs the EDI focus group, made up of members of staff from across the charity and provides an overview of the work undertaken to date…

At St Christopher`s we are aspiring to become an ever increasingly inclusive organisation where diversity in all its forms is recognised and celebrated, whilst discrimination and oppression is identified and tackled. Values drive behaviours, and behaviours drive culture. We are on a journey at the charity in relation to EDI and we are learning all the time.

We want to ensure that equality is embedded in all of our activities and policies. We want to create a sense of belonging at St Christopher’s to attract and retain talented people. Crucially we want to hear everyone`s voice and respond to their needs.

Our EDI strategy was approved by Trustees in November 2022 with a 3 year implementation plan and our EDI pledge was debuted to all staff members for sign up by Zero Discrimination Day on 1st March 2023. Our EDI Project Board has been established at a senior level in the organisation to lead on the strategy and our associated EDI Focus Group (made up of managers and staff members) takes responsibility for how the strategy can and will be implemented. The focus group and project board work alongside each other and there is a two way communication process.

The EDI Focus Group meets every month for 2 hours (protected time) and advises the project board on aspects of the strategy. We are almost at the end of year 1 of the implementation plan and this year the group have been addressing communication and engagement in a variety of ways. They are committed to working with any staff members who identify with one or more of the protected characteristics within the Equality Act. The group have been instrumental in the production of a variety of great initiatives and actions. These include the pledge, a review of our paternity policy and implementation of a menopause policy. Similarly the group has shown commitment and sought out learning to support, working with transgender young people, celebrating black history month, the charity being accredited as a disability confident employer. We have also made inroads in creating support/network groups that are our people want, as well as feeding in to the charity’s inclusivity priority in the next 5 year strategic plan.  Resources and information are shared on our intranet to enable any staff member to have access and utilise them. Our EDI focus group members also make themselves available for anyone wishing to share any issues, concerns or comments or to ask the group to have a discussion about a relevant EDI matter that is important.

In year 2 starting in April, we will be continuing our work we have already started in year 1 as well as looking at the objectives in the implementation plan for year 2 around training and continuous learning. The group will be celebrating pride month and Black history month as well as raising awareness, with the assistance of our communications team, around other important EDI events happening throughout the year. We want to develop more focus on young people and how to involve them i.e. how we introduce EDI to children and young people when they move into a home or service, the language we use, the literature they are given. With this, we will be tackling the issue of how to support managers and staff members when young people make discriminatory remarks/comments and help make them more aware of the impact they are having and educate their views.

We are encouraged by the organisation’s commitment to EDI and will continue to strive towards an inclusive and welcoming place to work, as well as a nurturing and supporting environment for the children and young people in our care.