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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Black History Month

Black History Month

As in previous years, the Trust is pleased to support Black History Month, an annual celebration of the contribution that Black communities have made both locally and across the world. The NHS is the biggest employer of people from a BAME background in Europe, with one in five of the workforce from a BAME background, and South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust is celebrating the importance of Black Londoners to the NHS through a series of events and activities.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trust has worked hard to provide extra support to its BAME staff. Now, we have organised a series of ‘Let’s Talk’ webinars to offer all staff a space to talk openly about the impact of the pandemic, racism, bullying and harassment.  The first one was attended by more than 130 staff members and proved inspiring and powerful.

Mary Foulkes, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development said: “This was a really vital opportunity for colleagues from all backgrounds to talk about ways of combatting racism, prejudice and how these have had an influence on our lives. We heard some extremely moving, personal and insightful accounts from colleagues of many different backgrounds and I really feel it brought us all together and united us in our stand against discrimination in our Trust and our wider community.”

Leading up to this special month, we held a one minute silence for George Floyd in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and our staff networks have been engaged in Black History Month event planning, organising a successful annual conference called ‘The Reality is not OK’ supported by our Trust board.

During Black History Month this October, we are delighted to launch a Reverse Mentoring Programme targeted at BAME staff and a programme to encourage all staff to volunteer as ‘Diversity in Recruitment Champions’. Following the tradition from previous years, we are holding our annual Black History Month competition, and displayed banners across Springfield and Tolworth sites to raise awareness of this celebration. We have also updated our recruitment and selection e learning to include unconscious bias all hiring managers must access the training prior to recruitment day.     

Our staff have also participated in an NHS initiative to create an interactive London map whereby each hospital will have a ‘face’ of a black Londoner who is an inspirational figurehead to the hospital or local area and were invited to attend a number of Black History Month webinars organised by NHS England. Our Annual Black Mental Health Conference, ‘Healing our Broken Village’, run in partnership with the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network to reduce the inequalities faced by the BAME community in mental health services, has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  We will update you as soon as we have information about when this will run in 2021.