Equality & Diversity
We're Backing LGBT History Month!
February is LGBT History Month. LGBT History Month is a time to celebrate LGBT lives and culture, and a time to reflect on the battle through the years for LGBT equality and the sacrifices and struggles that many have made or encountered along the way. Of course there remains much work to be done, but much progress has been made in terms of acceptance in the workplace and in wider society.
As a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a signatory to the #NoDiversity pledge, our staff sport the rainbow lanyard to signify their commitment to stand up against hateful language and abuse and to stand up for fairness. Throughout February we will be marking LGBT History Month and promoting our commitment to LGBT equality.
It's Time to Talk...about Mental Health.
So, how are you?
Many of us will answer 'fine', even when we're not.
Too often, mental health problems are treated as a taboo subject - something not to be talked about. However, mental health affects us all and we should feel able to talk about it. In 2018 we should all be committed to changing how we think and act about mental health.
One in four of us will experience a mental health problem and nine in ten say they have faced negative treatment from others as a result. By choosing to be open about mental health, we are all part of a movement that's changing the conversation around mental health and ensuring that no-one is made to feel isolated or alone for having a mental health problem.
As part of our commitment to this, we are supporting Time to Talk Day. Taking place on Thursday 1 February, this is a day when everyone is encouraged to have a conversation about mental health, whether they are in the workplace, eating or drinking, in the gym, in fact anywhere you are it is important to take time to talk about mental health.
Positive Action in Housing – Winter Destitution Appeal
Positive Action in Housing is a ‘small charity doing a big thing’. The Glasgow based organisation provide advocacy, help and assistance to vulnerable people from refugee backgrounds. Positive Action in Housing have launched their Winter Destitution Appeal for 2017 on 30th November. The appeal looks to raise much needed funds to assist destitute refuges and asylum seekers at what can be the coldest time of the year.
Positive Action in Housing’s lifeline service provides food, shelter, crisis grants and other assistance. Refused refugees have no rights to housing, work or state support, other new refugees are routinely left destitute despite being entitled to support. Donations made to last year’s Winter Destitution Appeal allowed the charity to make over £42,000 in crisis grants to people from fleeing war and conflict in some of the most dangerous and war-torn countries in the world . Positive Action in Housing expects to see some 500 people at their Glasgow surgery over December. Any donation that can be made to the appeal no matter how small is really appreciated and can make a real difference. You can find out more at http://www.paih.org/
Welcoming our New Scots
Recent conflicts and political instability across the globe have contributed to a humanitarian crisis in terms of migrants and displaced persons fleeing conflict zones through fear or persecution. Nearly all of us will be familiar with the images on television and in newspapers of what became the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War.
Scotland has a long history of welcoming refugees and people fleeing violence and persecution, seeking asylum in another country to escape these circumstances is a fundamental human right. Reflecting this tradition Scotland has provided a safe haven to over a third of all Syrian refugees who have settled in the UK as a result of the on-going civil war in that country, a number of these have settled in Glasgow and in our local community.
To assist the integration of refugees into our city, the Scottish Refugee Council has set up a Refugee Integration Service. The service aims to help people who have been granted refugee status, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain by the UK Government to integrate and and to offer advice about rights and entitlements. Caseworkers from the service can also provide advice and assistance in housing, welfare rights and money advice and employability, and also encourage people to actively participate in the local life of their communities and wider society
The Service has combined with the Maryhill Integration Network to take an outreach service into the local Maryhill community. This allows caseworkers to engage more closely with New Scots from across North Glasgow, and to enable the local integration network to offer their own support on rights, entitlements and advice on access to housing.
The Refugee Integration Outreach Service takes place every Tuesday between 9.30am and 12.30pm at the Maryhill Integration Network, 35 Avenuepark Street.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers – The Facts
Queens Cross take leap in workplace equality
Queens Cross Housing Association has jumped 82 places in this year’s Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, a UK-wide benchmarking tool for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) workplace equality. The Association now ranked 310 of 439 organisations, up from 392 last year, one of the biggest ever improvements in the Index.
Entries to the Workplace Equality Index are judged on a number of areas, such as policy and practice and staff and community engagement. Sponsorship of OUTrun, a race held as part of Glasgow Pride week, and staff participation in events such as LGBT Youth’s Purple Friday and the No Bystanders campaign, contributed to progress this year. It’s the second year Queens Cross has taken part.
Stonewall’s Programmes Officer Sarah Chidlow said:
“A jump of 82 places is one of the strongest improvements of any organisations in the Index. It’s a testament to the progress made by Queens Cross in promoting their organisation as a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Chief Executive Shona Stephen said:
“It’s an honour to be placed on this year’s Workplace Equality Index. Being an open, inclusive organisation is incredibly important to us. We’re doing all we can to ensure we’re a fair, equal employer and landlord for all and we’re aiming to rise even higher next year.”
What are Protected Characteristics?
When we talk about Equality and diversity we often refer to the term 'Protected Characteristics'. The Equality Act 2010 brought together the many existing equality laws into a single piece of legislation. The act also introduced the term 'Protected Characteristics' and aims to prevent unlawful discrimination against anyone who has a protected characteristic. All of us have at least some of these characteristics, in effect the Equality Act should protect everyone from being treated unfairly on account of who they are. The nine protected characteristics are:
Age - this refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 65) or a range of ages (e.g. 18-30 year olds).
Disability - a person has a disability is s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Gender Reassignment - the process of transitioning from one gender to another.
Marriage and Civil Partnership - this refers to a union between a man and a woman and also includes a marriage between a same-sex couple. Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as civil partnerships. Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by the Equality Act).
Pregnancy and Maternity - pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.
Race - refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
Religion and Belief - religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.
Sex - a man or a woman
Sexual Orientation - whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.
We want everyone to have the same opportunities regardless of their backgrounds
Launched in February 2013, our Equality and Diversity Strategy 2013 2016 shows the commitment that we have made to making sure our staff, tenants and stakeholders are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.
The strategy outlines what we are doing as an organisation and our 5 key objectives for equality and diversity:
- We gather and maintain information to understand the needs of our customers and shape services to meet diverse needs
- Our Board, CIGs, staff, volunteers and partnerships demonstrate a clear commitment to equality and diversity
- We offer effective ways for all of our customers to engage with us and customer feedback is used to review and develop services
- Our services are accessible and responsive to our customers' needs
- We are a progressive organisation and our governance, leadership structures and workforce will broadly represent the diversity of the communities we serve.