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Our Commitment to Equality & Diversity

We are committed to addressing inequalities in sport and physical activity.

It is our aim to drive change locally with regards to addressing inequalities in sport and physical activity, however this also starts with reflecting on ourselves and our own practices to ensure we are equitable. As a team, over the past year we have focused on evaluating our policies, our internal processes and training, as well as our external work and communications, to ensure we are truly an inclusive organisation and that we are actively working to tackle inequalities in our Sussex communities.

The use of language in talking and writing about racial equality is important and at Active Sussex we will use the following guidelines.

Snapshot of the work we have been doing so far…….

As a member of the Active Partnership national steering group for Race Equality, Active Sussex’s chief Executive has helped shape the learning and education of peers, particularly through sharing lived experience of racial barriers faced working and playing in the sector as a result of being a black person, and also female. The individual and shared learning workshops have enabled leaders and workers in the network to better understand these issues, and to work towards solutions that will begin to address these structural and systemic inequalities.

Work plans

Our focus on Equality and diversity plays a key part in the trust’s overarching Improvement Planning journey so that the whole team can continually feed in the work they are doing.

Discussions around race and race equality have also taken place at team meetings which will continue moving forwards, and all staff have the opportunity to feed in their thoughts around Equality, Diversity & Inclusion both internally within the workplace and our approach externally via a quarterly feedback form. This will also be used to help shape the trust’s Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan.

Alongside continued conversations, facilitated Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy and action planning sessions with staff, trustees and external partners will assist the formation of a new plan, and clarify the roles and responsibilities we all have.

Prioritising Funding

Active Sussex took the decision to prioritise a proportion of our TIF funding to support Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities across Sussex with a particular focus on areas with higher numbers. Active Sussex worked closely with local partners such as local authorities, wellbeing teams, voluntary action organisations, and most importantly community leaders to widen the reach of this work and ensure the investment was reaching organisations who are led by people from these communities. Neighbourhoods where more than 5% of the population are of South Asian ethnicity were prioritised and neighbourhoods where more than 5% of the population are of Black ethnicity were prioritised. Active Sussex has invested over £40,430 of this funding so far into projects focusing on culturally diverse communities to address levels of inequalities. The learning that has come from this work has been widely shared with partners such as providers who are inclusive but do not specifically target people from ethnically diverse communities, tend not to engage people from this priority group.

Tackling Inequalities Fund

Learning from others

Although as an organisation we have been working on this issue for some time, we are by no means experts and can’t do it alone. We are in communication with our Active Partnership peers and share knowledge and resources across the network.

We also draw on the knowledge and experiences of local partners and people within Sussex, and share this insight through opportunities such as our network events, case studies and training workshops.

Training

Where there are gaps in knowledge, providing training and more formal learning opportunities are key to increasing our understanding of equality and social justice, and to be allies working to achieve meaningful change.

To support this learning journey staff and board members have attended various training sessions such as ‘Sport, Physical Activity and Trans People: The Basics’ delivered by Gendered Intelligence and Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality as part of the Active Partnership Network Convention 2021.

Recruitment

To support our diversity journey we have teamed up with Applied, to ensure we have an internal hiring solution that removes the possibility of unconscious bias coming into our recruitment process. We began using this platform in our recent recruitment for new trustees.

If you have lived experience or represent a Sussex community we are wishing to engage and learn from (please see our strategy), and would be interested in joining our board of trustees please get in touch.

In the future we will also look to use external recruitment companies to support advertising roles to a wider network in order to grow the diversity of our staff team and board.

Gemma Finlay-Gray

Strategic Relationship Manager

Gemma is responsible for managing key strategic stakeholder relations to tackle physical inactivity across Sussex, with a focus on increasing levels of physical activity for people with a disability, those from lower socio-economic groups, and women and girls. She oversees the Sussex Disability Sports Network, is the Lead Adult Safeguarding Officer, Deputy CYP Safeguarding Officer, Equalities lead and acts as the Active Partnership’s Human Resources lead.