As a service provider, it is essential that we recognise and accommodate the wide range of needs and aspirations of our staff, residents and customers.
Our networks here at JRF and JRHT are available to all staff to provide an open, positive, flexible and informal support and information share-point. The networks include:
- LGBT Plus Network
- Disability Staff Network
- Menopause Support Group
LGBT Plus Network
The LGBTPlus Staff Network exists to steer, support, lead, champion and celebrate our LGBT colleagues within JRF and JRHT. We work to continually develop and uphold a culture of inclusion, acceptance and understanding allowing all staff to be themselves at work and fulfil their potential, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
By opening the network up to all colleagues across the organisation we hope to eliminate any sense of segregation and ensure that colleagues work cohesively in their efforts to make positive change and impact.
The network's aims are to:
- Identify and highlight specific needs of LGBT staff and how to meet these;
- Provide a voice for LGBT colleagues specifically around future work, policies and language;
- Educate and inform staff;
- Encourage and promote positive conversation in the everyday culture of our workplace;
- Challenge and call out unacceptable behaviour;
- Provide a safe environment in which to raise issues experienced by LGBT staff;
- Raise awareness of and celebrate significant events in LGBT culture and history;
- Develop links with external LGBT communities, groups and organisations, to learn from others work and share best practice;
- Promote good relations between LGBT and non-LGBT staff, as well as maximising opportunities to include and engage with residents.
- Provide support, advice and information on LGBT matters to all staff, exercising confidentiality as and when appropriate.
The network is coordinated by the Head of Diversity and Inclusion and supported by the Chair and secretary who are appointed annually.
The networks senior champion is Angela Dearing, Director of Housing and Communities who sits on the network. and overall sponsor comes from the Director of Corporate Services Claire Townson,
The network will focus on overseeing the objectives as outlined above, meeting once a quarter and governing the yearly schedule of events and activities. Project groups will form to deliver the work and report into the network each quarter.
Membership of the Network is open to all staff, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity – straight/cisgender allies are encouraged to join. In addition from 2018, the network agreed to invite LGBT community members to join the network in order to widen understanding of community issues faced by LGBT people.
Disability Staff Network
The Disability Staff Network operates an open membership to any member of JRF/JRHT who has an active interest in the inclusion of disability within the workplace. The group is an open, positive, flexible and informal support and information share-point, for any employee who wishes to discuss disability. It is a safe environment where personal/individual conversations can take place. The Disability Staff Network Group also works to influence work culture and promote positive messages and images of disability within JRF/JRHT; overall encouraging the ethos of being yourself at work.
Within the network are specific groups for support:
- SAD Support Group - a support group for people living with seasonal adjustment disorder (SAD), a type of depression that can affect some people during the winter.
- Disability Friends - a network of staff who have come forward to be a friendly face, a listening ear and someone who you can discuss any area relating to disability with.
Menopause Support Group
The Menopause Support Group was created in Spring 2017, after requests from staff for a forum where women could support each other and share experiences and information.
The menopause affects as many as 13 million women in the UK and although the average age is 51, some women experience it as early as their 30s. Symptoms vary and can be individual, so some women find they are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed and don’t get the treatment they need. Many women also feel unsupported when their symptoms affect them at work.
The group welcomes anyone interested in, or affected by, the menopause.
Anne Mwangi, Head of Diversity and Inclusion explains 'This is a really positive support group, but it also aims to raise awareness of the effects of menopause on women at work and to ensure it’s recognised - everyone is really welcome, female and male’.
The group aims to:
- Support women in the workplace who are going through the menopause
- Raise awareness and provide information for colleagues and managers working alongside women experiencing the menopause
- Ensure that the menopause is considered and included in HR policies
- Making sure the menopause is something it's OK to talk about
JRF and JRHT operates across many varied sites, including offices and care homes, and staff are encouraged to start their own informal local support groups.
To celebrate World Menopause Awareness Day, JRF/JRHT welcomed academics from the University of Leicester to talk about the research they have conducted on the impact of menopause on women in the workplace. You can watch the video below, or see the full version which features a Q&A session on our YouTube page.