Working hard to support mental and physical wellbeing of young people in Gloucestershire
Rainbow colours for Pride
COO Alicia Wynn talks about how YG is working to improve it’s equity, diversity and inclusion.

YG takes Pride in their Workplace.

As we celebrate Pride this month YG wanted to share some of our recent work and thoughts around Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (E,D&I). As an organisation we are not yet reaching all of the young people that could benefit from our services and we have been questioning why this is and how we can improve to ensure we are extending our reach into diverse communities. We recognise that Gloucestershire has a diverse population and we at Young Gloucestershire want to ensure that our workforce is a truly inclusive organisation that reflects our young people, families and communities.

To us, inclusion means creating a workplace that values diversity and where everyone feels welcome, accepted and safe as themselves; with access to equal opportunities regardless of background.

Our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion is deeply rooted in our values as an organisation with listening, learning and empowerment at its heart. We know we need to develop a workforce where young people can see themselves reflected and therefore to achieve this, we need to look at how EDI is embedded throughout all areas of the organisation. We know we have key areas we need to change but we also know that we cannot do this alone and that we need to work with community partners to ensure our impact is maximised.

We have brought together a dynamic and passionate group of staff, from across all levels of the organisation, who meet monthly to develop a three year Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (E,D & I) action plan. They will continue to drive this focus by monitoring, reviewing and evaluating the progress of the plan by setting goals that hold the organisation to account.

What are our Key Priorities?
After initial exploratory work with our staff and implementation of a staff E,D and I survey, we have been looking closely at the issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. Through open and honest conversations and reflections of our current culture we recognise that we need to be more pro-active in how we approach issues and that taking stronger action on E, D & I is vital to ensure we are a healthy organisation that is leading the way in Gloucestershire. By taking positive action now, we see opportunities for us to make positive impact both internally and externally in the communities we work in.

We have developed an EDI work plan to guide us over the next three years with key actions and responsibilities to ensure we are moving in the right direction on our EDI journey. There is no end point to this journey and we will continue to adapt and review and revise this work as we go. We will be creating a team of EDI champions made up of passionate and committed staff from across all areas of the organisation that will be trained and supported to help drive the work plan forward, hold people to account and move us all to fulfil our priorities.
This is our initial action plan focusing on four key priorities identified through the exploratory work completed. We consider this our starting point on a journey that will take time to work through. We are committed to action and so setting initial goals is key to avoid paralysis on this essential issue.

Priority 1 | Environment and Culture
We want to ensure that our staff have a strong sense of belonging within the workplace by creating safe spaces and psychological safety through all levels of the organisation. We want to make sure all of our physical spaces are welcoming, inclusive and accessible for all.

Priority 2 | Recruitment
It is vital that the young people in our communities see themselves reflected in our workforce.
We want to encourage applications from those from different backgrounds and circumstances with the aim that we become and remain representative of the people of Gloucestershire and in particular the economically and socially deprived areas.

Priority 3 | Communications
We are committed to making our communications more inclusive and accessible to all. This means we will be exploring ways to ensure that our messages are easily understood and resonate with people from diverse backgrounds. We want to ensure that everyone feels welcome and included in our communications and we will be working to identify and remove any barriers that may exist.

Priority 4 | Service Delivery
As a county wide organisation, we know that there are locations and cohorts of young people that we are not reaching and that this needs to change. As an organisation we want to reach all young people that need us and hope by focusing on the areas identified within this work plan we will be better placed to do this effectively and successfully
Words and language are a vital part of thinking about and supporting equality, diversity and inclusion. But words are not enough. An organisational statement alone will not change how we approach this issue. We need to act, to turn our good intentions into meaningful action that will contribute to making our services, organisation and our community fairer and more equitable.

Always Learning and Evolving.
We cannot do everything all at once and trying to devise the perfect diversity action plan risks paralysing us from doing anything. As such we have identified actions we believe will improve our approach to equity, diversity and inclusion. Some of these we will get on now. Other actions will then follow once we have done the immediate things. More activity will come later – some of which we can already anticipate, some will emerge as we progress through this plan and continually reflect as we do.

Supporting Other Organisations.
At YG we feel very passionate about this piece of work, we are happy to learn from other organisations and also happy to share our experiences if you are part of an organisation who is looking to reflect on your own equity, diversity and inclusion.

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