Tackling inequalities has always been at the heart of the work of Active Partnerships. But when the shocking death of George Floyd caught on video in the US last summer sparked protests and a national debate, we recognised we must do much more to address racism and racial inequalities within sport and physical activity.
So, over the last year, we have worked together as a learning community across the network in order to build a more in depth understanding of the issue in our communities and to agree tangible actions to make a difference at national and local levels. Active Partnerships Chief Executive Lee Mason blogs about the network journey to date here.
Today, on the anniversary of the death of George Floyd, we are launching our network commitment which is the culmination of this work to date, and has been developed with colleagues from across the network.
The commitment aims to galvanise action across the network, working with our partners, communities, staff and Boards, building a long-term commitment to make a sustained and meaningful difference.
Whilst we are small organisations, we recognise the reach and influence we can have through our whole system approach to tackling inactivity and by building anti-racist practice into everything we do. But this requires us to lead by example, recognising our weaknesses, with individual and collective commitment to taking action to become truly inclusive, anti-racist organisations.
Dr Karl George MBE who has been a facilitator for our learning events and who has become a really helpful critical friend commented
From my very first engagement with Active Partnerships I was impressed with their willingness to learn, their commitment to make an impact and their passion for the cause. You often hear organisations saying they don’t want to go through a tick box exercise or be part of a talking shop, I am pleased to have been a part of their journey to ensure that is not the case.
Each Active Partnership will have its own plan working alongside local partners and communities and collectively we will focus on 6 key areas below which from the Racial Equality Commitment.
- Be open and responsible – this is about embracing our personal and organisational responsibility, being open about our plans and transparent about the progress we are making. Our learning journey over the last year has demonstrated our commitment to this area and our commitment is just the starting point which we will regularly review.
- Be Strong Allies – this involves us leading by example as anti-racist allies to challenge racism and racial inequality wherever we see it, reinforced through our governance and ensuring we become more representative of the communities we serve. In early progress, 5 Active Partnerships have begun piloting the Race Equality Code on behalf of the network and will share their learning and involvement. We have a new partnership with the PFA whereby graduates from the programme can be signposted to Active Partnership Board vacancies to help in the recruitment of more diverse Boards, starting with the recent appointment of Anton Ferdinand to the Active Essex Board. We will also utilising our communication channels to tackle racism and will seek to ensure we use appropriate, specific language and inclusive imagery such as this example from GreaterSport.
- Create Systematic System Change – This commitment focuses on our core purpose, utilising our insight, reach and influenceacross multiple sectors, to identify, challenge and change the systemic factors holding current racial inequalities in place that negatively affect levels of physical activity.
- Enable Communities – this will involve working proactively with communities of ethnically diverse groups to create community led, asset-based approaches to tackling inactivity. Our work over the last year with Sport England delivering the Tackling Inequalities funding to encourage community groups to help people stay active has been a great start and something we are committed to building upon.
- Develop the workforce - this will build on our work to date to create a more ethnically diverse physical activity workforce, through targeted recruitment, training and development along with progression pathways into and through the sector.
- Deliver inclusively – finally, we will utilise all our delivery, interventions, funding and resources across all our target audiences, to create new opportunities, build our insight and evidence, to increase activity levels of ethnically diverse communities.
What will success look like?
Success measures will include improved representation in our teams, Boards and wider workforce, and ultimately by working collaboratively we will increase levels of activity amongst ethnically diverse communities. We will continue our journey, listening and learning, supporting each other, monitoring the effectiveness of this work and ensuring we maintain momentum, holding ourselves and each other to account for the commitment we are making. The work will form one part of our wider equality, diversity and inclusion strategies to tackle all inequalities and ensure those who can benefit most are supported to become more active.
For more information contact Nicki Couzens ncouzens@ActivePartnerships.org