Our foster carers come from all kinds of backgrounds and life experiences. We’re proud of our diverse community and work hard to create an inclusive, welcoming, and supporting environment for everyone. We understand and acknowledge our responsibility in actively tackling issues regarding diversity and inequality across our community and society.
Standing for ‘Group and Regional Ambassadors Committed to Equality,’ G.R.A.C.E. represents Compass’ commitment to inclusivity. First founded in 2020, our G.R.A.C.E group utilises the full talents and experiences of staff, carers, and children across the organisation.
Garfield is our Lead Residential Ambassador for our Compass G.R.A.C.E group. He’s been working with us in our Compass Children’s Homes service provision since 2019, and has always been an advocate for fairness and equity throughout his life.
In this update from G.R.A.C.E., Garfield gives us a run down of the progress that G.R.A.C.E. have been making in recent months, including a strategy update and some information on their recent visit to the Slavery Museum and working lunch.
G.R.A.C.E’s Strategy Update
Since my appointment as the G.R.AC.E. Lead Ambassador, I have been taking some time to get to grips with where we are now and where we want to be.
At present, I feel that the G.R.A.C.E. perspective is widely known throughout Compass, more so in some areas than others. Overall, there is some understanding of what G.R.A.C.E. stands for and there have been some changes – a lot behind the scenes – but changes, nonetheless.
In terms of where we want to be, I want G.R.A.C.E. to be up front and centre. I also want us to be unapologetic about being there! I want G.R.A.C.E. to be involved in all aspects of the amazing work we do here at Compass.
In order to do that, we need to keep having uncomfortable conversations about our racial biases and challenging things that are wrong. I know it will take some time to achieve this and for everyone to get involved, but we’ll get there if we move forwards together, respecting how we got to where we are and acknowledging the mistakes we have made along the way.
So far, I’ve had one on one discussions with colleagues from Fostering, Marketing & Therapeutic Services. I’ve also had group various discussions with colleagues from HR & Education and I will be arranging more meetings over the coming weeks so that I can get a better idea where G.R.A.C.E. sits within all parts of Compass.
I will also be continuing my meetings with Loretta Parnell who continues to support the project as an external consultant, as I feel that this is the only way that I will be able to keep moving G.R.A.C.E. forwards.
Slavery Museum Visit & Working Lunch
Unfortunately, due to a bit of confusion around the date of the visit, work commitments and some illness there were only 6 of us that were able to make it to Liverpool. But this didn’t detract from the day!
After meeting outside of the Maritime Museum, Bernie (our CEO), Loretta (our consultant), Shirley, Mike, Neil (G.R.A.C.E. ambassadors) and I spent just under 1.5 hours walking around and taking in the exhibition.
It was a truly humbling and informative experience for us all. We left the exhibition with as many questions as answers, as well as a deeper understanding of the experiences of enslaved people.
We were fortunate enough to gain some unique perspective from an amazing lady named Barbara Tasker, who gave us an account of her family history that is depicted in one of the exhibitions. Having the opportunity to listen to Barbara’s family journey – from her Great, Great Grandmother to present day – was a enlightening and thought-provoking, giving us insight into how far we have come.
Following our museum tour, we then made our way to the restaurant for lunch, where we discussed our experiences, as well as how we can improve G.R.A.C.E’s strategy and outreach.
We discussed many things, including:
- Getting data on the company structure and ethnic groups within the company and how it looks at all levels.
- Running another G.R.A.C.E. survey, so that we can get a view as to how much has changed since the last survey in 2020
- The Strategic Framework for the G.R.A.C.E. group (what we stand for), which is Communicate, Collaborate, Acknowledge, Recognise, Educate, Inspire – and how this is being implemented.
- Our mission statement.
- Action plans from each department and managers.
- Look at the Whistleblowing policy regarding Race, and if it is covered specifically within the policy.
Following our discussions at lunch, we came up with several important actions that we will seek to carry out in the next few months. We’ll be looking at our mission statement and framework in more detail to assess how we can update and improve it to make it even better.
Overall, the day was a great success, and I came away feeling that important progress had been made. I am looking forward to everything the future holds for G.R.A.C.E, and will keep you all updated as we go!