One Gloucestershire partners united during Race Equality Week last week to highlight their ongoing commitment to tackling inequality in the workplace. 

The annual UK-wide movement began in 2020 and the theme for this year’s awareness event is #ListenActChange

Coral Boston, Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said colleagues were encouraged to take part in the 5 day challenge which involves taking part in 5 different activities over 5 days.

The activities, which took 5 minutes, help employees reflect and take action to drive Race Equality. Topics include micro-aggressions, different cultures, public praise, a culture of belonging and the big promise.

She said: “During Race Equality Week the 5-day challenge served as a meaningful opportunity for colleagues to actively engage in initiatives that promote awareness, understanding, and inclusivity.

“As we focused on the challenges faced by minority groups during this dedicated week. I extend a challenge to each one of you.

“Take the time to listen attentively and be fully present when engaging with the silent voices amongst you.

“It is through this deliberate act of understanding that we can work towards fostering an organisation where everyone feels heard and valued.

“Let us collectively work towards a workplace where opportunities are truly equal for all.”

Neil Savage, Director of HR & Organisation Development and executive lead for equalities at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust (GHC) said: “Healthcare services have always depended on the talents of a truly diverse workforce since the inception of the NHS in 1948.

“In June that year, the passengers of HMT Windrush disembarked at Tilbury Docks, with many of the passengers coming to work for the NHS.

“Seven decades later, there are skilled colleagues from over 200 different nationalities working in critical clinical and non-clinical roles in our NHS.

“Without this wonderfully diverse workforce we simply couldn’t provide the services to our Gloucestershire community that we do.

“Race Equality Week is a great opportunity for everyone to celebrate the work of these essential and valued colleagues and to positively promote race equality.”

Tania Hamilton, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust added: “On both a professional and personal level, race equality always matters.

“My parents feature as the interracial married couple in the recent ‘Gloucester Firsts’ video series, produced by Denzil Rider Shafique.

“My black Jamaican Dad who came to the UK as part of the Windrush Generation, and my white English mother, married and brought about a whole new dimension to race equality within Gloucestershire.

“Still together aged 85, I see them as pioneers of race equality, overcoming overt racism on both sides.

“With my EDI lens, we often talk about how far we have come since the early 1950’s as we continue to navigate our way around the less obvious forms of covert racism and micro-aggressions which are less understood.

“Building and developing allies and leaders through our development programmes and colleague networks across our Trust and communities, helps to facilitate our ongoing journey.

“I see Race Equality Week as the period dedicated to race equality and providing the platform to highlight our continuing work, and not just the week in which it matters.”

Carole Allaway-Martin, Cabinet member responsible for Adult Social Care Commissioning at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Race Equality Week is an opportunity to focus on action to remove barriers and address race inequalities within the workplace and in society.

“Gloucestershire County Council supports Race Equality Week as part of our commitment to embrace quality, diversity and inclusion.”

Tracey Cox, Director of People, Culture and Engagement at NHS Gloucestershire said: “It’s really important that we actively engage in efforts to advance equality rather treating it as a ‘nice to have’.

“With this in mind, we have a range of initiatives running across our health and care partnership including an allyship programme, involving group learning about what it means to support, amplify and advocate with others.

“Our aim is to grow an inclusive and trusting culture across our partnership where all staff feel empowered and supported to achieve their full potential.

“Our reciprocal mentoring programme, between senior leaders and front line staff across a range of protected characteristics has received really positive feedback and is now in its second wave.”