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The Cares Family

How our anti-racism and inclusion work has enriched The Cares Family

Posted by Alex Smith on 5th April 2022

By Natalie Alleyne

This summer will mark the beginning of the The Cares Family’s third year of commitment to anti-racism action. While the purpose of this work is rooted in our mission to build connection in a disconnected age, and the essence is driven by our values, the direction and goals have been inspired by the voices of our communities. Through listening to our neighbours and staff we learned the importance of nurturing a deeper sense of trust, safety and accountability towards one another while on this journey.

From the beginning it felt important to us to place our anti-racism work in the context of inclusion as a whole, so that we could one day widen our anti-racism action commitment into a legacy of broader safety and trust for everyone.

Culture


With genuine effort and good faith, staff immersed themselves in anti-racism learning and carried the momentum into the day-to-day practice of their own roles. Along the way, they have identified further ways to develop our growing culture of improved inclusivity – of being a place where people can belong.

Guided by the experiences of staff, since last May we’ve adjusted our anti-racism guidelines to better reflect our belief in nourishing closer connections through empathy, education and support, always avoiding judgement. Moreover, our guidelines have been expanded to provide protection and support to those who may have other protected characteristics that are commonly discriminated against.

Older and younger neighbours – our core communities – are also carrying this culture change. Since reviewing our guidelines both the number and severity of reported incidents of racism have fallen. This appears to be down to increased openness to cultural sensitivity, greater trust and a respect for new boundaries. Anecdotally, our communities report feeling safer and having increased trust. Meanwhile, our Development teams are also working on improving our guidelines for corporate partners: we’re looking forward to helping others have a similar positive impact too.

Anti-Racism Action Group


Our Anti-Racism Action Group (ARAG) has been crucial in proposing improvements to how we work to help make The Cares Family an ever more inclusive place. The group has worked with sensitivity and passion in thinking up ways to expand protection, including for our staff. In the spirit of moving with the communal desire to make our communities more broadly inclusive, the ARAG will expand into a staff-led Inclusion Group, with a wider focus in future. We believe this group, with its expanded focus, will inherit the integrity and empathy of the founding ARAG, and work from transferable anti-racism principles that helped to open our communities to the possibility of greater sensibility and closer, more authentic connections across other different experiences too.

Teams


In the past two years, we have sought to bring new experiences to both our board and staff teams. We’ve adapted the way we approach recruitment, focusing more on skills and demonstrable capability, rather than traditional qualifications and direct experience. This seems to have opened up our recruitment pools, particularly across race and class, and we are continuing to review our wider processes.

As a result of this combination of changes, 90% of our staff team believe the organisation is committed to equal opportunities – compared with 50% in 2020. This recorded change is invaluable – and reflective of the effort our teams have made to honour our values and principles, and to deepen our culture so that The Cares Family meets its number one inclusion goal of being a safe space for everyone.

Building on this, we are happy that our new COO role will adopt Inclusion as a core function and at a senior level at The Cares Family, and all new staff will continue to be inducted with anti-racism and inclusion training.

Next steps


Our inclusion journey doesn't end here. In many ways, it is just beginning. As an organisation seeking to build connection, reduce loneliness and deepen belonging, we know we have more to do – and we will continue to publish updates on these areas of our work to help others share in our learning and to hold ourselves to account. In the meantime, we are proud of our long term commitment to sustainable change and the positive impact these changes are having on our core work and in our communities.

Donate today

Thank you for considering a donation to The Cares Family. Your gift will help to tackle loneliness and build connection and community in a disconnected world. Our work is powered by people – so please chip in if you can.

The Cares Family is a UK registered company (10236615) and registered charity (no. 1180638). North London Cares is a UK registered company (07737818) and registered charity (1153137). South London Cares is a UK registered company (8757344) and registered charity (1157401). Manchester Cares is a UK registered company (10893107) and registered charity (1176902). Liverpool Cares is a UK registered company (11166325) and registered charity (no. 1177749). East London Cares is a UK registered company (11809555) and registered charity (no. 1186012).