Living Streets fully supports ACEVO and the Institute of Fundraising’s joint initiative to promote diversity, particularly the focus on improving racial diversity, which we acknowledge is an issue in our sector.
As the UK charity for everyday walking, we campaign for better walking environments so people of all generations, backgrounds and abilities can enjoy the benefits of walking. By committing to the following eight principles, we hope to progress in our aim to improve racial diversity internally and within our charitable output.
Jenni Wiggle, our Interim CEO, outlines how we aspire to achieve this.
Living Streets is committed to creating inclusive environments which eliminate unlawful discrimination on any grounds. The promotion of diversity, inclusion and the genuine equality of opportunity for all are central to ensuring fair employment and high-quality service provision. This is the basis of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy which everyone involved with our organisation is required to commit to prior to employment.
However, we are aware that there is an underrepresentation of race, both within Living Streets organisationally and the sector. We are working to change this. Our Board of Trustees and senior management team (SMT) are committed to developing a programme of action to make our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy effective and to regularly reviewing progress.
An action plan will be developed and maintained, setting out how Living Streets will deliver on this policy, notably around racial diversity and inclusion. It will be regularly reviewed by the SMT and our Board of Trustees. It will include action to address underrepresentation both within our staff team and our volunteer networks.
To ensure an environment of diversity and inclusion is maintained and celebrated within our organisation, Living Streets leads from the top. Our Board of Trustees and SMT are committed to practices which celebrate and mobilise diverse communities.
We have communicated to staff that equalities are at the centre of our new strategy and will continue to promote this value internally and externally as the strategy is finalised and implemented.
We understand the importance of reflecting diverse communities at a decision-making level. Our Trustees come from a range of backgrounds with representation for the protected characteristic groups, including race, gender, religion and disability.
However, we appreciate that the ratio of these groups may not be reflective of society as a whole and will carry out monitoring and evaluation of our Board and SMT make up to see if there are areas to be addressed. We will agree a process for how this information is shared internally and externally.
Living Streets will introduce a name-blind recruitment process to try and combat racial discrimination at the earliest stage. However, we know that racial bias can negatively impact workplace relationships and career growth beyond that. Overt, explicit forms of racism may be less common but subtle, sometimes undetected forms are very much still present in our society.
We acknowledge we are not experts in this area but we are committed to learning and embedding anti-racism into our values, practices and workplaces. We will look to engage with a third party to study our workplace culture and external practices to identify areas where it could be improved to tackle racial bias, and to publishing our ethnicity pay gap, and will seek external accreditation of our actions.
Living Streets’ new strategy, to begin in October 2020, has equalities at its heart. Our Board is already working on diversity themed targets to ensure our charity is reflective of the communities we work with and wider society, and that we address the need for our work to benefit a greater number of diverse communities in future.
This goes beyond our staff body to include our local groups of volunteers, with plans being developed to address diversity within our supporter community.
Minimum targets and a framework action plan of how we will achieve these will be published by December 2020. Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group will be consulted in drawing this together.
Living Streets is committed to investing resources – both in terms of staff time and monies – to improve racial diversity in our charity.
Some of Living Streets’ previous recruitment drives have indicated that we are not attracting applications from the breadth of available talent. As an organisation, we investigated this to see if we were defining talent too narrowly or our recruitment process was being influenced by bias. We updated our recruitment practices and paid to place adverts further afield to target wider communities than those that were currently applying, successfully recruiting BAME candidates as a result.
We are committed to take further action to continue to address this.
We have assigned budget to work with third party providers to enhance our work within diversity and have provided mandatory annual e-training modules for staff, including ones on equality, diversity and inclusion.
Living Streets is an equal opportunities employer and actively seeks diversity in recruitment both in background and skillset. The racial and cultural diversity of our communities is represented at all levels of the organisation through challenging racial stereotypes; understanding, respecting and valuing racial and cultural differences and perspectives; and encouraging and enabling members of BAME groups to volunteer or work for Living Streets at all levels.
As part of our target setting, we will address where we might be falling short in successfully representing and building a diverse group.
Living Streets recruits a range of talent across varying stages of careers and is committed to training staff to reach their full potential by maximising internal and external training opportunities and providing a training budget each year to employees and volunteers.
Each year we host a graduate from CharityWorks, the UK non-profit sector’s graduate programme, and help them establish foundations for a career in the sector.
At Living Streets, we want to give a voice to people walking, rather than speak for them.
We understand that no one person can represent the lived experience of everyone. We draw on the experiences and insights of our staff, volunteers, supporters and beneficiaries to enrich our external practices and develop our work.
We also understand that it is important for people to see aspects of themselves reflected in who they are talking to and that you are more likely to change behaviour if you can relate to someone who has done so. For that reason, we aim to use diverse images in all our external communications and reflect diverse communities within our staff body.
In 2019, we employed communications staff in Wales and Scotland so that people in these nations could feel more affinity with our work. Communications materials will be shared with representatives of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group to ensure we are reflecting diversity and addressing underrepresentation throughout. We will continue to aspire to have a diverse, representative organisation as we embark on our new strategy.