New partnership funded by the National Lottery aims to make BAME voices heard

A new partnership between ACEVO, the civil society leaders network and Voice4Change England, a national advocate for the Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic (BAME) voluntary and community sector, has been set up thanks to National Lottery funding.

The ‘Making diversity count in the charity sector’ programme has been awarded over £67,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund to focus on improving diversity by amplifying voices within the BAME community and sharing experiences within the charity sector.  

The funding from the largest funder of community activity across the UK will focus on BAME voices and experiences in the charity sector in a bid to speed up the process of change in improving diversity.

‘Making diversity count in the charity sector’ aims to put the lived experience of BAME workers at the centre core of conversations and actions for racial diversity and race equity. It also seeks to encourage charities to take a more active approach to promote and creating inclusive, equality-focused workplaces.

The project will be split into three parts; the first is a review of existing research on diversity in the charity sector, the second part, to be launched in the summer, will ask BAME charity workers to share their experiences and views through an online survey and a small number of in-depth interviews. The third part will be an exploration of how change can be generated. This will include working with charity leaders and system shapers like funders, recruiters and regulators, to understand why progress is slow despite there being a well-researched and well-publicised case for prioritising diversity.

This research will amplify the voices of BAME workers whose experiences have often been marginalised and provide ambitious recommendations for change. This will help to create a stronger, more effective sector that is better able to serve its beneficiaries.

Anyone who would like to be involved or contribute to the project can submit their details here.

Kunle Olulode, CEO of Voice4Change England, said: “If the charity sector is to fulfil its promise as an agent of progress, it needs to build diversity, equality and inclusion into its DNA.

“Change means that we listen to the voices, experiences and ideas of BAME employees in charities. Leadership in charities is also essential, which is why we are excited to be working with ACEVO to develop practical solutions to make the charity sector a place where everyone is the ‘right fit’.”

Vicky Browning, CEO of ACEVO, said:  “Charity leaders are not representative of the communities they serve. Alongside the moral and legal case for improving diversity, research has shown that diverse organisations are more effective and more financially successful.

“Despite widespread awareness in the sector of these facts, progress towards greater diversity has been slow and, too often, not inclusive of BAME voices. We are looking forward to working with Voice4Change England to help find solutions to these barriers.”

Sacha Rose-Smith, Senior Head of Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, people are taking the lead and working together to amplify often unheard voices within their communities. We’re excited to see this partnership bring people together to use their personal experiences to break down barriers and improve diversity across the third sector.”

Press enquiries to be sent to Kristiana Wrixon, Kristiana.wrixon@acevo.org.uk 07894 668508

Information about the project can be found here

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