Rejecting Racism & Standing Up For Change

Racism exists in many areas of life; it can be structural and institutional as well as interpersonal. It can exist in healthcare, housing, employment, and criminal justice. Britain’s colonial past influences this and the effect of this can still be seen in society today. Peter Bedford HA stands against racism in all its forms and supports its community of tenants, participants, staff, and volunteers to have their voices heard and to be agents for change.

Peter Bedford is a diverse community of talented people in North East London. Diversity and inclusion are amongst our strengths, however we know equality is very hard to achieve, and we will do more to stand up for change. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake and numerous others in the US have shone a light on how black and people from other ethnic minorities frequently experience racism and discrimination. In 2017 in our own neighbourhood, Rashan Charles’ death showed us how young black men are disproportionately arrested and charged by the police in the UK. At Peter Bedford, we condemn the killings and support the struggle for change.

Half our staff are from ethnic minorities as are a similar percentage of our tenants. Of the local population, 58% are from ethnic minorities. Both Islington and Hackney have become more and more ethnically diverse over the past 20 years. Listening to colleagues’ and tenants’ experiences is essential to tackle any discrimination and explore how to improve our practice and reject racism. Learning and Development on equalities, and in particular race, for leaders and staff is one of our highest priorities in our journey to create an inclusive and diverse culture. We are committed to listening to our colleagues’ and tenants’ experiences of racism and opening up dialogue across the organisation in order to change our practice and create an inclusive and anti-discriminatory culture. We will use our spheres of influence and support our community to advocate for and bring about change.

Our leadership, while diverse in other ways, does not reflect the ethnicity of the staff or local population we serve. We are committed to increasing the ethnic diversity on our board and senior leadership team, and will look to recruit talented individuals who may have experienced a ceiling on their careers. We recognise that there are barriers to the careers of people from ethnic minorities developing as far as those from white backgrounds. We will ensure that coaching or training support is identified and provided.

Since the death of George Floyd, we have opened up a dialogue within Peter Bedford on race, triggered by the Black Lives Matter protests which our community is committed to support. Our Equality and Diversity group has met frequently to research and develop how we will tackle racism. This statement of commitment is born from the work of this group.

Our commitments as a supported housing landlord are:

– To create a space for all of us at Peter Bedford HA, to come together to reject and tackle racism
– To understand the impact on tenants and participants of race discrimination through dialogue and for staff to support them through working groups and communications to influence changes in organisations’ or institutions’ practice
– To identify and address any discrepancies which tenants and participants experience with our service or outcomes, and undertake improvement inclusion and equality actions

Our commitments as an organisation are:

– To support our community to live our PRIDE values and reject racism
– To promote the voices of staff, tenants, participants, volunteers and their lived experience and contribution towards tackling racism
– To invest in learning and development for leaders and all staff in anti-racist practice and bias
– To reflect the ethnic diversity of our local community in our leadership
– To learn from external networks
– To assess our practice and gain HDN Diversity Needs Accreditation, committing to continual improvement
– To develop each department’s own equality and inclusion practices
– To identify and provide coaching or career progression support for staff from ethnic minorities