EDI across our services

All our services address barriers to equality, diversity and inclusion, faced by members of our communities. While some of our projects are local to Barnet, others run on a London-wide or national scale, enabling us to understand EDI issues at a variety of levels. Regardless of the reach of a service, we always listen to the needs of the people we work with, to ensure we are identifying and tackling the specific barriers they face.   

We encourage a sense of belonging in the individuals and voluntary organisations we support and achieve this by employing skilled staff who are peers of the clients they work with. As well as lived experience of disability, our staff often share some of the protected characteristics of our clients and direct experience of the barriers they face. We also support the voluntary organisations we work with to be inclusive, helping them to overcome the barriers that they and their service users face. 

This insight helps build trust with communities and individuals who may have been hesitant or unable to engage with services in the past. In turn, our staff have a sense of personal investment in their work and a desire to go the extra mile to help.  

Individuals and communities

Identifying and addressing barriers

The key to making society truly equal, inclusive, and diverse, is to identify, acknowledge and address the societal barriers which prevent this from happening. As a Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation providing services for the wider community, we are ideally placed to learn from individuals and communities who are facing these barriers. We are always looking for ways to make our services more accessible and inclusive to everyone. We are well-connected with other voluntary organisations and alliances who can also make change happen. 

Individual and collective barriers 

All our services for individuals and communities tackle issues around equality, inclusion, and diversity.  

Some of our projects, such as Touchpoint Peer Support, help individual disabled clients to overcome specific barriers or provide help on topics such as benefits advice. 

Others, like the Healthy Heart Peer Project, work to towards equality for whole communities; in this case for Black, Caribbean, and South-Asian communities at high risk of heart disease, who may experience barriers to health advice and support. Also, all members of the Healthy Heart team are both disabled and from the Global Majority. It is this combination of representation and lived experience which enables us to effectively identify and support global majority communities, who often experience multiple disadvantages through intersectionality. 

Accessibility in practice

Many of our accessibility practices are in place all the time, regardless of who we’re working with e.g., we always use inclusive language, work with accessible technology, and provide flexibility on working hours and locations (where appropriate).  

We also make specific reasonable adjustments for staff and clients where required (and within the funding and resources available to us). Examples of this may include providing an interpreter, adjusting sensory aspects like the lighting in meeting rooms, or giving self-descriptions when we introduce ourselves in meetings. 

Support & Advice

Our one-to-one support for disabled people in Barnet

Community Services

Advice and practical support for community organisations

Accessibility 

Find out how we are championing accessibility

Non-profit organisations

We have extensive experience working both as and for disabled people, and of the non-profit sector. It is part of our ethos to share our understanding and practices with others, and so it makes sense that we would support other voluntary organisations locally and nationally, especially those who tackle issues around EDI.  

We have taken this one step further, by establishing a Community Organisation Support team (COS) as part of the Barnet Together partnership with Barnet Council.  

With the Young Barnet Foundation and Volunteering Barnet, Inclusion Barnet provides training and networking opportunities, one-to-one meetings and tailored advice, to voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations who become members. This often includes support with EDI issues such as advising organisations on how to overcome barriers which they or their users face or encouraging them to pay the living wage.  

By pooling our skills and expertise in projects like Barnet Together, we can provide tailored support to other organisations, many of whom are tackling issues around equality, diversity and/or inclusion themselves. 

More about Community Organisation Support

Alliances

Inclusion through alliance

Another aspect of our inclusive practice is our working alliances. Engaging with other organisations both in our field and beyond, enables us to share our experience, co-produce change, and ensure we continue to learn and develop.  

Influencing informed change

Many of our projects also involve influencing wider change, such as co-producing research and reports with NHS trusts, to ensure services address the specific needs and barriers of their users.  

We are also an integral part of the North Central London Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Alliance (NCL VCSE Alliance). This is a panel of diverse expertise working with the NHS, to highlight the crucial role of communities and the voluntary sector in shaping our Health and Care System. We share the insights that we have gained from the communities we work with, to address how services can be shaped to meet their needs, a significant part of this is around inclusiveness. 

Community relationships

Organisations we’re working in partnership with

Ten of our members gathered in person, joined by other members and guest speakers online

Research and Campaigns 

Why we research and campaign 

We carry out research in the field of disability and related EDI issues, for a range of organisations including our own. As leaders in our field, research projects enable us to continually reassess our own practices, to make sure we are identifying and addressing disabled people’s needs. But this work also goes far beyond disabled people and our own services. The research and campaigns we produce led to the adaption or creation of new services, and even to changes in working practices on a national scale.  

Examples of our projects 

  • Campaigning to raise awareness among employers of the right to reserve roles for disabled people, which led to working with Acas and Inclusion London on changing the wording in Acas’ recruitment guidance.  
  • Creation of the Inclusion Barnet Management Handbook, a free resource to support leaders of Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs). 
  • Running the co-produced support project funded by Trust for London, researching and campaigning for deaf and disabled people to have the best social care possible from Barnet Council. 
  • Research into mental health peer support, funded by Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL), working alongside Inclusion London, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Real Lives, and Barnet Voice for Mental Health.
  • Delivering research as part of an ongoing partnership with Healthwatch Barnet, focusing on disabled people’s experiences of accessing services or the impacts on them of the way services are designed. 

Research & campaigns

Our insightful research shedding light on disability inequality

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