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Creating a place to belong

Sam Pepper

Sam Pepper, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Specialist, Exemplar Health Care

At Exemplar Health Care, we’re proud of our diverse colleague and service user community and the work we’re doing to provide an inclusive culture where everyone can maximise their full potential.

One of the ways we’re building this culture is through our Colleague Groups.

The groups give people the opportunity to share their ideas and experiences, and discuss any issues they’re facing, either at work or in their home life. They provide support for colleagues and offer a collective voice for colleagues to communicate with senior leaders.

Through the groups, we aim to improve inclusivity, tackle discrimination and eliminate unconscious bias.

A Proud Place (LGBTQIA+) Colleague Group

This group is open to those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and those that want to be an ally.

The group has already made some great achievements including adding pronouns to email signatures and name badges across the company and producing an ‘Appropriate responses to exclusive language’ guide to help people tackle discriminatory language.

Lauren Brooke, Core Learning and LMS Manager, is the group’s Chair. She shares: “Being in A Proud Place is important to me because as a gay woman, I feel it’s important for workplaces to have a platform for our community to express any concerns or barriers to us succeeding in our roles, and to ensure we have a safe place to celebrate our diversity.”

Armed Forces and Veterans Colleague Group

This group provides support and resources to colleagues who have connection with the Armed Forces.

The group first met in March and are planning to sign the Covenant to become a forces friendly employer.

Andrea Stoddart, HR Manager, is the group’s Chair. She shares: “I served 24 years in the Armed Forces. I feel really fortunate to be able to chair this group and meet colleagues who have a military connection. Through the group, I hope to champion awareness of equality for veterans, Armed Forces personnel and their families.”

Parent and Care Givers Colleague Group

This group supports anyone who has parenting or caring responsibilities at home.

The group is working with our HR Team to provide a family friendly guide on our family leave policies and start ‘time for tea’ social events for parents and care givers to meet.

Sarah Southern, Activities Coordinator at Lakeview, is the group’s Chair. She shares: “I’m a Mum to a 16 month old ball of energy – and I’m not afraid to say that it’s hard!

“It’s safe to say that the past two years have been the hardest of my life, but also the most rewarding. I’m hopeful that the trauma I’ve felt, the sadness I’m overcoming and the experiences I’ve had so far might just mean that I can help get myself and others the support that we so desperately need and deserve.”

Live Your Best Life Colleague Group

This group is for anyone who identifies as being disabled or having a long term health condition, or has friends or families who do.

The group is relatively new but its priority is to renew our Disability Confident employer status.

Lianne Biales, Trainee Nursing Associate at Lakeview, is the group’s Chair. She shares: “Outside of work, I’m a carer to my partner and my dad who are both disabled. I want to be part of the group as I want to be there for other colleagues, to listen to them, point them in the right direction for support and ensure that their voices are heard.

“I have an understanding of how difficult it can be both in and out of work, and I believe that the Colleague Groups are a positive way of ensuring that, as a team, we’re doing all we can to ensure every day is better for service users and colleagues.”

Visit www.exemplarhc.com to read more.

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