Our commitment to addressing inequality
In the UK, there has been a strong critique of the voluntary and community sector. Charity So White has highlighted institutional racism and challenged the sector to question whether it can say it is demonstrating best practice.
The evidence is clear that much has yet to be done.
In July last year, following events occurring in America, including the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, many organisations released statements about how they would address racial inequality.
We didn’t because we know we have not always got it right - we have not ensured inclusion is in our DNA in the same way we have with safeguarding. As a leadership team, we felt there was a great deal for us to address at the Together Trust before we could issue a statement about our intent.
ACEVO’s Home Truth’s report revealed the depths of the things we didn’t know, and it caused us to reflect on what steps we needed take to see meaningful change for the people we support and our colleagues. We all agree that this change needs to be a fundamental shift in the way we do things at the Together Trust, and it must outlive us.
We still have a profound sense that we are at the beginning of this journey and whilst there will not be an end to this work, we are at the start of a two-to-three-year programme of activity focused on three key areas.
Core and central is our workforce. We are working with Purple Infusion to understand how our workforce feels by building safe spaces for sharing and listening to lived experiences. We are open, honest and vulnerable by admitting where we have got it wrong and educating ourselves, so we start to create equitable opportunities, celebrate diversity, and build an inclusive culture of togetherness at the Together Trust.
Our board of trustees will oversee the strategic approach to building a greater equitable and diverse organisational governance culture, ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles are embedded to help deliver the best possible outcomes for the people we support. They will review the composition of their board and governing bodies and address any countering imbalances of power, perspective and opportunity. As they assess their understanding of systems and culture at the Together Trust, they will be setting context-specific and realistic goals, taking action and monitoring EDI performance.
We champion the rights, needs and ambitions of the people we support - they are at the heart of everything we do. We stand by them and we work together for change. We will ensure our service delivery is inclusive and culturally sensitive by listening to the people we support about what matters to them and understanding their lived experience.
Mark Lee, Chief Executive
Jill Sheldrake, Director of Services
Julie Isted, Director of Governance and External Affairs
Brian White, Director of Resources