Supporting Diversity and Inclusivity

There has been a great deal of discussion in recent weeks around the voluntary sector’s particular role in tackling racism and the lack of diversity and inclusion across the sector.

While this is a debate that has been going on for some time, for example through the Charity So White movement, it has been brought into sharp focus by the Black Lives Matter protests and the clearly disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic (BAME) communities in the UK.

On 17th June, Voice4Change England and ACEVO published ‘Home Truths: undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector’, the result of a year’s worth of work examining the experience of BAME staff within the sector and the sector’s overall approach to racism.

It contains some powerful messages and some clear challenges to all of us to do better – not just in increasing diversity within the sector but in ensuring that our cultures and our systems are welcoming to BAME people, are actively antiracist, and ensure that we focus our work effectively to align with the particular needs of BAME communities.

In response, many national charity leaders have each committed as individuals to accept and act on the recommendations made in the report for CEOs and leaders. As a group they have committed to accept and act on the recommendations for the sector collectively and will be working together to progress those recommendations.

Richmond CVS welcomes this commitment to make positive changes aimed at increasing racial diversity and changing long-standing practices that negatively impact on BAME people. The voluntary sector is uniquely placed to support work to address both the causes of inequalities and racism, as well as its impact on communities, because the local organisations which form its foundation are often embedded in those same communities.

It is important for us to consider how we improve diversity, equity and inclusion within the context of our own organisation and the local voluntary and community sector. This will require work and a willingness to challenge ourselves to do more to help achieve the more equal, just and fair society we want to see. We know too that we will need to draw on expertise from other organisations in order to support our local groups to understand how we can all actively play our part to increase inclusivity within our sector.

We encourage you to read the report and start to look at your own organisation’s practice and culture, if you haven’t already. We all need to ask ourselves what we can do better, and constructively engage with others in the discussion. Diversity and inclusivity are areas of ongoing improvement and continuous learning to embed in our everyday working. We will provide updates on developments and useful information as we progress, which will include actions we are taking within RCVS to move this forwards within our own organisation.

2 July 2020