Publish date: 11 February 2022

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust has been presented with a top award for its commitment to tackling equality, diversity and inclusion.

Councillor, Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor for Bristol, and Professor Christine Bamford, Programme Director, from Stepping UP Bristol, attended AWP’s Trust Board meeting last week to present the Stepping UP Diversity Champion Award to the Trust.

AWP has been an active member of the Stepping UP programme for a number of years working with partner organisations across Bristol to address the issue of the under-representation of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, disabled people and women within organisations.

The Stepping UP Diversity Champion Award recognises the Trust’s commitment to creating an inclusive workforce. 

Councillor Asher Craig, who is the Deputy Mayor of Bristol and has responsibility for Children, Education and Equalities, said: “I am delighted to present our Stepping UP Award for Diversity Champion to Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health NHS Partnership Trust in recognition of their ongoing support and active participation in the delivery of our award winning leadership programme. AWP is committed to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels of their organisation and continue to champion the Stepping UP Leadership Programme.

“AWP recognises that there is much more work and focus on diversity, equity and inclusion that needs to happen, but this award amplifies the message of how important it is to continuously recognise and celebrate organisations like AWP, who are making a difference every day and leading by example.”

Charlotte Hitchings, Chair of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of the Trust and I am really proud of all the work going on across the Trust to celebrate and support our diverse and talented workforce. We recognise that we still have work to do but we are committed to ensuring we are a diverse and inclusive organisation which reflects the communities we serve and the staff who work for us.”

AWP has race, disability, LGBTQ+ and gender staff networks where staff challenge and advise the Trust on key issues that arise about equality, diversity and inclusion, including our work to further improve diversity in our leadership. As well as these networks, AWP is also rolling out EDI Cultural Intelligence training, reverse mentoring for its Board members and has developed job interview questions to assess for EDI understanding across a variety of roles from Health Care Assistants to senior leadership.

Suchitra Sabarigirivasan, Chair of the AWP Trustwide Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group, said: “We are really focused on talking with and involving our diverse staff in equality, diversity and inclusion. Our staff race, disability, LGBTQ+ and gender equality networks are all actively advising and influencing the Trust, and are helping to create a sense of community where diverse voices matter. We really want our staff to feel valued for who they are.

“To continue to become a fully inclusive Trust, we want to develop and celebrate our leaders from all backgrounds. The Stepping UP programme gives our staff an excellent opportunity to take part in an award-winning leadership programme and I would really like to see more of our staff take up this opportunity."

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