The NELFT Ethnic Minority Network (EMN) successfully hosted their first virtual conference in December. Hundreds of staff members across the Trust attended the event, which had to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the challenges, the atmosphere was positive with a real collection of inspirational speakers and individuals from all walks of life gathering virtually to celebrate diversity and inclusion as well as highlighting the real work that still needs to be done to improve the working environment for all colleagues.
Speaking at the event, Joe Fielder, NELFT Chair said: “My pledge as your chair is to personally live and promote our NELFT values. To challenge myself every day and ask am I doing enough in raising awareness of things like unconscious bias and eliminating discrimination and enabling our people to flourish, including our BAME staff.”
The event was organised by the Trust’s equality, diversity & inclusion team and Ethnic Minority Network, and aims to use their collective knowledge, experience and expertise to improve the working environment for all staff.
Guest speaker, Dr Navina Evans, chief executive at Health Education England, said: “It is really important not to be defeated by barriers. How did I make sure that I was able to do that? I adopted an improvement science and methodology, a QI way of thinking and being.
“Integral to improvement work is understanding why we all behave the way we do and by also holding on to hope, kindness and compassion and always modelling the change we want to see.”
Joint-chair of the EMN and associate director of nursing, Moriam Adekunle, said: “Now is the time for the organisation to demonstrate how much we value and appreciate our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workforce by taking time to listen to us and acknowledge where colleagues have been treated badly and take steps to redress the balance by promoting equality of opportunity for all in the workplace, regardless of ethnicity.”
Other guest speakers included Professor Oliver Shanley OBE, chief executive, Paul Deemer, head of diversity and inclusion at NHS Employers, who shared a selection of his poems which encapsulate inclusion and comedian Lee Ridley, also known as Lost Voice Guy. who delivered a hilarious performance.
The event coincided with the launch of the new Ethnic Minority Network Strategy for 2020-2023. Read the EMN Strategy here.