The ground breaking work NELFT NHS Foundation Trust is doing to promote inclusion and opportunities for ethnic minority staff has been named the best in the UK.
NELFT NHS Foundation Trust beat competition from other public sector and private sector organisations to scoop the Employee Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage Network of the Year at Inclusive Networks awards 2015 for its Ethnic Minority Network and the implementation of its strategy.
The Inclusive Networks Awards, held in Manchester on 19 November 2015, are the first awards of this scale dedicated to network groups at organisations, and reward the work and positive impact of network groups from all diversity strands and from all sectors across the UK.
NELFT NHS Foundation Trust has more than 6000 staff and provides community health and mental health services in north east London and Essex to a population of over 1.5million people. NELFT’s focus is on providing high quality, lower cost healthcare to people in their own homes.
Wellington Makala, NELFT EMN chair, and members of its steering group collected the prestigious accolade at the Inclusive Networks Awards ceremony.
John Brouder, NELFT chief executive, said: “This is a great achievement for the EMN network at NELFT. We have all worked really hard to ensure we are an inclusive organisation, and opportunities are open to everybody at NELFT.
“Our award submission highlighted the excellent initiatives that the EMN at NELFT has set up and progressed over the last year, including the popular Unlocking Potential programme and staff development programme for bands 5,6 and 7.
“People in the EMN, and also those across NELFT, have put a lot of effort above and beyond their daily responsibilities. Our challenge for the next 12 months is to enable more staff to get involved.
“Mentoring the chair of the EMN, Wellington Makala, has allowed me to hear first-hand the remarkable work our EMN steering group is doing and it has rightfully been recognised nationally with this EMN award.
“We are receiving frequent requests from other healthcare providers to come and see the work of our EMN, so they can try to replicate its best practice.
“The EMN and other work that the EMN is leading on is inspiring and should be celebrated. We can only improve NELFT’s quality and reputation if all staff feel valued and are able to have an influence on how we work.
“We recruit and retain the best staff to provide the best care at NELFT, and this award bears testimony to that.
The EMN award came just days before more than 200 colleagues from across NELFT NHS Foundation Trust gathered for the fourth annual Ethnic Minority Network staff conference on Monday 23 November.
Hosted by Wellington Makala, the conference heard from guest speaker Roger Kline, Research Fellow, Middlesex University and Director, NHS Workforce race equality standard (WRES) and got involved with lively workshops , which centred around 'how does equality and diversity create a competitive advantage for our organisation'.
The first NELFT EMN (formerly known as BME) Staff Conference took place in 2012 to highlight the good practice at the trust on race equality, and to look at areas for improvement and provide solutions for the organisation.
Wellington Makala said: "This year's conference was another success. The atmosphere was warm, welcoming and solution focussed which helped us discuss challenging topics openly and honestly."
Other conference speakers included human rights lawyer, Jacqueline Onalo who delivered an inspiring presentation on ‘changing the narrative’ and how we should look to successful people that we can identify with to inspire us.
Jacqueline said: “NELFT has smashed through the glass ceiling in the past 18 months with the work EMN is doing. Well done to all the EMN champions, the EMN network, and for this award.”