Equity, diversity and inclusion – running right through our work at National Emergencies Trust
I’ve been proud to take part in Race Equality Week this week. Like the rest of my NET team-mates, I’ve shared my #BigPromise on social and carved out time to learn about all the different ways we can work towards a fairer society. A virtual workshop on equity and data, for instance, couldn’t have been better timed as I try to wrap my head around my new role at the National Emergencies Trust.
Being Head of Distribution and EDI at the NET feels like a bit of a mammoth task right now, but the dual role makes so much sense. It means EDI will never be an ‘and finally…’ at the NET but something we hard-wire into our operations. Most importantly, of course, ensuring that we distribute our funds equitably when the worst happens.
At the moment, as a very new team (and charity) we are working hard to create the right structures for racial equality with every new step we take. From our plans for future partners, to our wider networks, to our communications and culture.
So far, our recruitment practices have been a big focus as we’ve built our core team of nine. We’ve signed the “Show the Salary” pledge to show we hire, and pay, on merit. It’s a really simple but powerful step any employer can make to ensure equity.
We’ve also collaborated with incredible partners 2020 Change, Street League and The Prince’s Trust to bring in brilliant young intern minds who are passionate about playing their part in the sector. We swapped out formal CVs for speed-dating style chats – and had a lot of fun in the process (impossible not to when Vivienne Aiyela is leading the proceedings!)
We know that to truly create equity as a team we need to keep learning and growing as individuals, so we’re always looking for new ways we can do that. Formal anti-racism training (thanks Trevor Gordon) for the whole team and trustees has been incredibly valuable.
But we know that it’s often those day-to-day conversations with new contacts and communities that really catalyse ideas for change.
So we’re meeting as many new people as possible who can help to make us the best charity we can be for everyone that needs us. Whether that’s virtual coffees with interesting new connections, lunch and learns, or the check-ins with sector CEOs that Mhairi, our CEO, and I are scheduling across our weeks: chances to have open and honest conversations about EDI. The good and the bad.
Right now, our new team has an incredible chance to write the NET’s playbook together. To revisit where the NET left off when it launched the Coronavirus Appeal at just four months old and with two full-time people. And to populate all our blank pages with the lifetime of learnings we’ve created in the 10 months since.
Whatever that playbook looks like, racial equality – and wider equity, diversity and inclusion – won’t feature as a single chapter but run right through our story. Because we know that, while it only takes a moment to make a #BigPromise, the charity sector has decades of making up to do.