ELBA’s Community Forum series: Structural Racism: What can the voluntary and community sector do?

On the 5th August ELBA’s Connect Team convened a selection of community organisations for a forum event entitled “Structural Racism: What can the voluntary and community sector do?” The aim of the forum was to discuss how we can work alongside our community partners to affect meaningful change in east London.

Twenty east London based charities and social enterprises were represented with participants discussing both the challenges that they are facing and their thoughts on how we can make our organisations as diverse and inclusive as possible. We were also joined by Jake Ferguson, CEO of Hackney CVS, who delivered a presentation on the various associated initiatives that he is involved in delivering.

Structural racism is a wide ranging, multifaceted topic and is one that affects our communities in a variety of different ways. During the forum we touched upon Leadership & Governance, Recruitment, HR & Organisational Culture and Projects, Programmes & Beneficiaries. Given the breadth of these topics, we know that the forum was very much the start of the journey and we intend to have follow up forums to explore each in greater detail.

There were a number of suggested actions that ELBA will be working to deliver on. These included:

– The creation of further networking opportunities where related issues can be discussed

– The development of a bank of shared resources/materials

– Support with accessing diverse talent pools for both employee and trustee recruitment

– Access to expertise from Diversity & Inclusion professionals

ELBA is committed to continuing conversations on structural racism, working with our partner organisations to become more diverse and inclusive spaces and ultimately playing a role in wider societal change. With this in mind, we have launched the SHIFT25 campaign alongside Red Lion Chambers.

This will be a long journey and is one that we feel must be taken collectively. We believe that businesses can play a valuable role in supporting community organisations to address structural racism and we are currently working to harness the skills and expertise of Diversity & Inclusion specialists to offer a series of training opportunities. If you would like to learn more about how you can volunteer your time to support us then please contact harriet.joseph@elba-1.org.uk.

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