Following the terrible death of George Floyd and the resulting global protests in 2020, England Netball held Here to Listen Forums with our membership to explore the experiences of ethnically diverse communities in our sport. Due to the large demand to join the conversation we ended up running 10 forums with over 200 attendees across a number of weeks. We then extended the conversation further exploring the experiences of the LGBT community in netball.
During the forums we heard about so many different experiences. This was incredibly powerful and we can’t thank everyone enough that took part, from fans, members, volunteers, staff, athletes and others.
Hearing about these experiences has taught us a great deal, and we are committed to making change as a result. We want to educate ourselves on issues relating to race and discrimination, influence others by making the conversation a continuous dialogue, call out racist behaviour, discrimination and challenge conscious and unconscious bias.
A key learning from the forums is that racism and discrimination can manifest in lots of different ways, and over time, this leads to hurt and pain. We don’t want netball to make anyone feel this way, ever. Our ambition is to build a culture of inclusion, equality, celebration and the desire to change.
We want to continue to learn and develop an impactful change plan and we will do this by continuing to engage with the Netball Family.
The England Netball Board has co-opted an additional member to the board to bring experience in this area and continue to support continued progress in equality and diversity within netball. Jennifer Thomas was appointed to this role in January 2021 for a term of up to one year.
As part of our ongoing drive at England Netball to create a culture of respect and inclusion for everyone, we are pleased to announce that we have teamed up with VERCIDA Consulting to work in partnership with us over the coming months to boost our collective diversity intelligence and create information equality and inclusion training and resources which will be made available to the netball family later in the year. In addition, VERCIDA will be providing expert knowledge to support the development of England Netball’s new 10-year strategy, ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion principle are embedded throughout the strategy and designed to have a real impact.
VERCIDA Consulting are global experts and have a wealth of experience of supporting organisations such as ours to create inclusive cultures having previously worked with sports organization such as Sport England, The LTA and UK Athletics as well as major corporate organisations including; EY, HSBC, Unilever and L’Oreal.
Through this partnership with VERCIDA we are looking to gather as many diverse voices and views on where we (England Netball) and netball as a whole are doing well, not so well and how we can improve in order to be great. With this in mind, we want you to join the conversation about equality, diversity and inclusion by completing an inclusion survey which has been designed to examine further some of the themes from the Here to Listen forums.
This survey will be open until midnight on Monday 3 May 2021 and by completing this survey you could be in with a chance of winning one of four £50 Amazon vouchers as a thank you.
Following the findings from this survey VERCIDA will be independently conducting focus groups throughout May on a number of key topics. We are looking for participants for these groups so if you would be happy to be involved in one of these to explore further your thoughts you can find out more here.