Reflections on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Active Oxfordshire
Posted: Wed, 13 Sep 2023 13:20
For the past year, Phoebe Gibbons, Active Oxfordshire's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, has been dedicated to developing and improving EDI at the organisation. She reflects on work of the organisation, and looks forward to how we can continue to move in the right direction to make Oxfordshire a more inclusive and equitable county.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is a journey which entails constant learning and evolving and will never be complete. At Active Oxfordshire, we are continually developing as an organisation as we embark on our own Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) journey, and we regularly reflect on how we can do more to improve our EDI and be a more inclusive organisation, both internally and in the work that we do.
However, at times, it is also good to look back and reflect on the progress we have made and the positive change we have made to move in a more diverse and inclusive direction. Though we do this internally, we also want to share our learnings with other organisations, so that we can ensure that we are doing all that we can to make Oxfordshire a truly equitable place.
Oxfordshire EDI Peer-to-Peer Support Group
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we were really pleased to be able to participate in the EDI Peer-to-Peer support group which, at the time, was facilitated by Oxford Hub. Our work heavily relies on engagement with partner-working, and the group session was a fantastic opportunity for collaboration with other partners with an EDI-focus. Being able to share learnings, experiences, and resources, and creating an open space to do so, created opportunities to explore how organisations can be truly inclusive.
Sadly, the group had to come to an end due to a lack of funding. Recognising that we were fortunate enough to dedicate time and resource to EDI, we were keen to reconvene the Peer-to-Peer group. Amazingly, organisations who had been involved in the sessions previously were also keen to continue and we were delighted by the enthusiastic and eager responses to this.
Since March, the group have been meeting regularly to discuss a variety of topics in relation to EDI, three new organisations have joined, and the group is continuing to grow. Active Oxfordshire by no means leads on the sessions; we help to facilitate, but very much attend to learn. All participants bring a huge wealth of experience, and it is incredible to see organisations come together to learn from one another and commit to working towards an equitable, diverse, and inclusive county.
We will not always get it right
A crucial part of our EDI journey is acknowledging that we will not always get things right, and it is important, as an organisation, that we take steps to learn from such experiences.
One example was around our use of ALT text on social media. We were aware that this was something which needed addressing and we hadn't quite found the formula to do so. We now recognise that by not addressing this as quickly as we should have done, members of our community were missing out on content, and our communication with the organisations and individuals we work with was not inclusive and accessible.
After rightly being challenged on this by one of our partners, we have since worked to find a way of resolving this. Having said this, we know that there is still more work to do to ensure our communication is accessible, and we continually work hard to ensure this is the case.
Our actions over the past 12 months
Whilst Active Oxfordshire continues to explore ways of ensuring that we are a truly inclusive, we feel it is important to recognise and be transparent about some of the actions we have taken over the past twelve months to ensure we continue our journey in the right direction. These actions include
- Making positive changes to our recruitment process (e.g. formalising the recruitment process to ensure consistency, sending interview questions in advance to shortlisted candidates, and offering in-person and hybrid interviews).
- Ensuring one of our team meetings each month is dedicated to EDI.
- Implementing a skills matrix with our Board of Trustees, giving them the opportunity to share lived experience.
- Making our office fully accessible.
There is still so much work we must do to ensure that we are a truly equitable organisation, and we are fully committed to doing so.