Coronavirus Update:
The SVC team are mainly working from home, please email us to organise an appointment to visit the office.
We currently have a number of digital (online) opportunities available, and are cautiously returning to some in-person opportunities.
Please click here for the latest information and news from our team.

A YEAR OF SVC’S EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION BLOG! UPDATE 6

What Have We Done Since We Outlined Our Goals in Response to Black Lives Matter?

The summer of 2020 saw a huge response to George Floyd’s death in the form of the Black Lives Matter movement, highlighting the widespread issue of institutional racism and the need to make change across all areas of society. 

We recognised that this also applies to our local area and within the charity sector, and so committed ourselves to making change. Not only during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, but throughout the future of SVC, making a list of our goals and regularly discussing, reviewing and working towards these goals. You can read these here

We want to be as transparent as possible about all the work that we’ve been doing. So, a year on from setting these goals, we wanted to review exactly how we’d worked towards each of them and which of them we’re still working towards. 

“We will develop a page on the SVC website documenting our specific commitments to anti-racism, alongside our other Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work, so that we can be held accountable”

We have updated our website with ‘Our Values’, which alongside ‘Protecting our Planet’ lists our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) statement, information about protected characteristics, the Equality Act and information around discrimination. This is available for anyone coming through to our website to read, helping to educate our network, as well as publicly stating our stance towards equality. 

Further to this, our EDI blog posts document all of the EDI work we’ve done across the year, which again is publicly available for all to stay up-to-date with what we’re doing, meaning our work is as transparent as possible and we can be held accountable to our goals. 

In August 2021 we finalised our EDI policy, which you can read here. This has been an ongoing project throughout the year, which describes our commitment to EDI and eliminating discrimination, as well as how we plan to achieve this. For example, this includes how we’re monitoring EDI, how we’re making sure that we’re being fair throughout our recruitment processes, our commitment to training, what our individual responsibilities are and how issues can be raised. Our policy will be reviewed annually to make sure it’s as up-to-date and relevant as possible. 

Not only have we finalised our own EDI policy, but we’ve also signed Zero Racism Wales’ pledge for a zero-tolerance approach to racism in Wales, and created our own Zero Tolerance Policy to Racism in Wales, which you can read here or under the ‘Policies and Procedures’ section of our website, based from Zero Racism Wales and Race Council Cymru's policy structure. This policy explains our commitment to eradicating and standing against racism, and the promotion of equality. 

“We commit to setting up an EDI role on our Board of Trustees, which will help us continue to have honest and candid conversations that lead to action within our staff and Trustee teams” and “We will ensure our developments within EDI are discussed at every SVC Board meeting and staff meeting”

We have not just one but four of our Trustees who are part of our new EDI working group, as well as Eleri from our staff team. They meet once every six weeks to discuss our EDI work, how we can improve and where we should focus our resources. EDI is now a regular agenda point discussed at every single SVC Board meeting, and it is also regularly discussed in staff meetings. 

“Our Trustees and staff commit to educating ourselves on institutional racism and how it affects our actions and our work”

We’ve educated our staff and Board members through organising several training courses throughout the year, not only focusing on racism awareness but also other broader aspects of EDI. These include Race Equality First’s ‘Racism Awareness, Hate Crime & Discrimination Training’ course, Stonewall’s ‘First Steps to LGBT Inclusion’ and ‘Introduction to Allyship’ training, RNID’s ‘Deaf Awareness Training’, and a British Sign Language course from Deaf Friendly Business Solutions. 

We’ve also started using the Global Equality Collective (GEC) app, which is a useful tool for EDI training resources. Our staff team have committed to using this more in future for their own research and to share resources and findings within team meetings. We were also proud to have been awarded a Distinction in GEC’s assessment of SVC - one of only two organisations to ever achieve this! 

“We will share resources on the Black Lives Matter movement, and additionally places to donate (if you are able to do so)”

In our second Equality, Diversity and Inclusion blog post, our staff and Board shared some resources that they’d found particularly useful in educating themselves about institutional racism and the wider Black Lives Matter movement. This included events and protests that were going on at the time, insightful books, articles or documentaries. You can read the full blog post here

In our first update, we also included some links that we found useful at the bottom of the page, including a compilation of useful resources and places to donate. These can still be found on our website here

Links to both of these articles were also shared through our social media pages, as well as our response to Black Lives Matter and information around local protests. 

“We will promote initiatives and campaigns, policy changes (at local, national and international level) to aid our EDI development within SVC”

We have shared information about various events and reports through our social media pages, with some examples including Race Council Cymru’s ‘Windrush Cymru: Celebrating the lives and journeys of a generation’ exhibition, a Learning Disability Wales article about the Insight app, as well as Race Equality First’s NGO Shadow Report for Wales on racial inequality. 

We linked a petition for black and POC UK history to be taught as part of the curriculum in Wales through our EDI blog, and, as mentioned above, we shared details around local Black Lives Matter protests through our social media. We also shared that we signed Zero Racism Wales’ Zero Tolerance to Racism Policy, with links to find out more about Zero Racism Wales and their pledge to fight racism. 

Sharing initiatives and campaigns is something we will continue to strive for and hope to do more of in the future through our social media channels. 

“We will work with agencies and experts to implement a digital Discrimination Training course – this will be a free resource accessible to all via our website”

For the first time this year, EDI information was added into our Trustee training session. We’re in the process of writing EDI training slides into our training for volunteers and putting together additional training for our staff members. We made a start on this last year following on from a discrimination training course attended by staff, however we wanted to make sure we were confident in the quality of the information we were putting together and there were some concerns around the content. Staff EDI training is currently on the agenda for the next EDI Committee meeting and this remains one of our future goals, making sure that everyone representing SVC has been adequately trained in promoting equality and diversity. 

“We will produce other resources to support our beneficiaries, volunteers, partners and staff to develop their knowledge - for example, a short-film for the adults we support with learning disabilities”

We have recently set up an EDI Teams channel for our volunteers to access, which we intend to use in order to share resources following on from any EDI training as well as GEC resources which we think would be useful. As mentioned above, we have organised many different training sessions for our staff, Board, volunteers and beneficiaries, covering racism awareness, LGBT+ inclusion, deaf awareness and British Sign Language. Resources or key takeaways from these sessions have also been shared with those who couldn’t attend where possible. 

We’re also passionate about giving our staff the freedom to guide their own research and learning around EDI. We recently sent a survey to each of our staff members to highlight different things they’d like to focus on, using the feedback from staff to inform and develop the way we work and help make SVC even more inclusive. One area that was highlighted through the survey was the wish to focus more on different religions, so each staff member is now researching different religions from our Equal Opportunities data and will be presenting what they found to the rest of the team - using their own interests and resources as a way of sharing information and knowledge across the team.

Unfortunately, we haven’t put any videos together yet. However this goal is set to become a reality within the next academic year. We’re delighted to be launching a new project called ‘Exploring EDI & Valuing Differences.’ Volunteers (including volunteers with disabilities) will be working on producing a short film, as well as creating six training sessions around EDI, so we will have some useful resources soon, so watch this space!

“We will reach out to more marginalised groups, with the aim to involve more demographically diverse groups into the work that SVC delivers”

We made a start on this objective by gathering as much demographic information as we could about our current beneficiaries and volunteers. We’ve updated our application forms to gather more information, and sent out a survey to our existing volunteers to gather the information that we didn’t previously ask for. All questions are now compulsory, but all have a ‘Prefer not to say’ option so we have an idea of when people explicitly don’t wish to provide information, versus when it just hasn’t been filled in. We’ll use this data to build a fuller picture of our volunteer base, and in turn do targeted recruitment to communities that are under-represented. 

Our staff member Eleri has also written up a recruitment email and poster to send to community organisations, with the aim of targeting underrepresented groups and diversifying the SVC volunteer community. 

This objective is something we’re actively focusing on currently, particularly with our main recruitment drive starting in September. 

What Are Our New Goals and How Are We Working Towards Them? 

Throughout this article we’ve outlined several things that we are still working towards - this includes sharing EDI initiatives, campaigns and policy changes, sharing resources through our EDI Teams channel, creating training videos for the beneficiaries that we support and to finish putting together EDI training for our staff members. 

Our staff will also continue to use the GEC app to learn from and share resources. The team has been reading through its EDI information, starting with ‘What you need to know about Diversity and Inclusion’ and ‘How to Recruit for Equality and Retain Diverse Talent’. They plan to meet up regularly to discuss their thoughts around these articles and how the information can be applied to SVC’s work. 

For the future, we’re aiming to review our goals roughly every quarter and set short, achievable goals for that time period rather than more broad, annual goals. Our EDI Committee outlined our main objective for the next few months, which is to diversify our volunteer communities, analyse our EDI data during each recruitment drive and to target underrepresented groups based on this data. 

As mentioned above, we’ve already started working towards this by gathering as much demographic information as we can and writing up an email to reach out to community organisations, targeting underrepresented groups. Our next step is to analyse all of the data we have and identify which groups we need to target for recruitment, and devise an action plan of how we can reach these groups. In this way, we hope to fully diversify the SVC community and better represent the wider community that we’re supporting. 

If you have any questions at all about our EDI work or have any suggestions of how we could do a better job, please let us know by emailing info@svcymru.org.