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Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole celebrate Diversity, Equality and Workplace Best practice at awards event
Wednesday evening witnessed a VIP event at the North Road campus (Poole) of Bournemouth & Poole College. The pan-Dorset Equality & Diversity Workplace Best Practice Annual Awards will go public and open to applications and nominations in 2016, but in its initial pilot phase year sought to provide examples only of what equality best practice in the workplace can look like, and why it delivers better employer-employee relations, staff cohesion, and business efficiency.
The Awards have been initiated by Dorset Race Equality Council, with a guiding vision of co-development for celebration of the value and importance of diversity and equality in the workplace, and in equal partnership with minority groups (from race, to learning disabilities and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender [LGBT]) that commonly have faced discrimination.
Intended to celebrate and encourage innovative best practice in the workplace, the awards are strongly supported by local authorities, public service organisations, colleges, as well as businesses. The initiative was initially developed by Dorset REC in the Autumn of 2014, and resulted through discussions with the CEO of Bournemouth Council, its Portfolio holder for Equality and its Equality and Diversity Manager.
This led to the issuing of a letter of support and recommendation, and announcement of the initiative at the Black History Month event in October 2015 at the Bournemouth University Executive Business Centre (Bournemouth, Lansdowne) that Dorset REC initiated and developed in conjunction with the university, and with the African & Caribbean Community: the CEO of Bournemouth Council and the Vice Chancellor of Bournemouth University kindly being presenters of Outstanding Contribution to the Community certificates, given to a selection of exemplary representatives from the local African & Caribbean communities.
One year on, the Equality & Diversity Workplace Best Practice Annual Awards have now been launched and took place on the 25th October, through a piloting/examples of best practice event, which is a precursor to the first full scale year for the initiative in 2016.
The VIP guests attending the piloting event included the CEO’s of Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset County Council (Tony Williams and Debbie Ward), the Portfolio Holder for Equality at Bournemouth Council, Cllr Lawrence Williams, President of the Bournemouth Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peter Matthews, the Chair of the International Education Forum, Guido Schillig, as well the Principal of the Bournemouth & Poole College, Diane Grannell, and Amanda Frost from Bournemouth People First organisation (that supports the voice of the Bournemouth area learning disability community).
Presenting the awards certificates were Mr Adnan Chaudry (CO of Dorset Race Equality Council) and Father John Hyde (Space Youth Project: which supports LGB&T young people), and recipients included three local authorities, one of the departments (art & design) of Bournemouth & Poole College for a global citizenship in youth project relating to Nepali arts, and to three national award winning businesses – Flirt Café Bar; Crumbs Project; Chaplins Wine Bar – that feature at their hearts celebration of diversity and support for minorities that commonly encounter prejudice, and doing so in ways that are highly successful models for business.
The message that emerged clearly from all at the event, was loudly and clearly that equality and diversity in the workplace is a strength, a necessity for business and organisation efficiency, and not a luxury!
From February 2016 the Annual Awards will go public with applications and nominations open for the first full-scale year, and with a panel of volunteer judges being recruited.
The 2016 awards will be open to participation to all businesses (small, medium and large) and organisations (local authorities and public service organisations, but also voluntary sector and charitable organisations) across Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole.
Applications and nominations (including self-nominations) will be open from the end of February 2016, with forms available on our website and promoted through partnering organisations and via advertisement in the media, and the successful award winners will be announced by the end of October 2016, with the awards presentation taking place in late November 2016.
Large organisations and businesses will be able to nominate up to 4 specific sections/departments/branches; medium sized ones, up to 2; and small size ones, 1.
Please watch this space for more details!