Diversity House was formally opened on the 16th of May 2007 with an office in Phoenix House, Central Avenue, Sittingbourne. A charitable organisation providing both community and prison-based services for diverse communities across Kent. The charity aims to promote community integration, re-integration, social inclusion and cohesion within the Swale and Kent communities. It is our belief that individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, gender etcetera, should be treated with dignity, respect and adequate opportunities to access services within the community. The charity offers a holistic and person-centred package of care and support for our service-users on issues such as debt management, housing, employment, education, health, and business opportunities. We also run special interest groups, projects, lectures and symposia aimed at informing, educating, inspiring and challenging people in Kent into self-reliance and self-actualisation.

SWEW is a group of totally committed women of all ages eager to promote a positive image of women in Swale and Kent through information and knowledge sharing, equality and diversity, understanding, respect, reaching out, sharing support and advice and socialising. SWEW aims to help disadvantaged women to tackle isolation, improve their life chances by providing opportunities for enterprise, self-employment, employability, new skills, community participation and improved lifestyle choices. We welcome anyone who is interestred in; discussing shared concerns, developing leadership skills, and gaining entrepreneurial knowledge which will enhance your employability skills. It aims to make sure that you have all the confidence, skills and information that you need to achieve your aspirations.

We are part of the UN global compact. "We are pleased to confirm that Diversity House Limited supports the ten principles of the UN Global Compact with respect to human right, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. With this commitment, we express our intent to advance these principles within our sphere of influence and will make a clear statement of this commitment of our stakeholders and the general public. We also pledge to take part in the activities of the UN Global Compact where appropriate and feasible – through for instance participation in Country/Local Networks involvement in specialised initiatives and work streams; engagement in partnership projects; and reviewing and providing commentary to participating companies on their communications on progress." - Christine Locke (Chair and project lead.)

Diversity House’s ‘International Day of Women 2016’ event in ‘In Maidstone’ magazine

International Day of Women at Xross-PolyNation Gallery

Posted by: Liz White , March 17, 2016

Power, action, passion and emotion reined supreme during charitable organisation Diversity House’s ‘International Day of Women’ event at Xross-PolyNation Art gallery.

This event drew support from speakers Helen Grant MP, Chair and Project Manager of Diversity House Christine Locke, Deputy Lieutenant Rosemary Dymond and Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes along with a cross section of the community who attended.

The gallery looked awash with colour with Mike Fryer’s art Exhibition dominating the main gallery on entrance and artist Stephen Bromfield pledged 10% from this event would go to Diversity House.  The atmosphere was charged with positive energy  and an expectant air – which always seems to exist at Xross-PolyNation Art Gallery.

At 10:30 the talks highlighting Diversity House’s ‘International Day of Women’ got underway and Diversity House’s Chair and Project Manager Christine Locke took to the floor.

Her talk was direct and inspiring and started with Christine asking ‘what is the difference between ‘ranting’ and ‘expressing a strong opinion?’.  Having been ‘accused’ of ‘ranting’ many times when she is simply highlighting the issue of women’s inequality in the workplace and society, Christine suggested ‘ranting’ is a negative term associated with women who express an opinion and subtle gender differences in society led to examples of vast disparity within society.  So much so, that for all gathered some reports of inequality were emotionally hard to hear.

The statistics speak for themselves and Christine highlighted what is happening here in the UK.  Many believe the UK are leaders for equality issues but this is not the case.   Some of the statistics listed by ukfeminista.org.uk put gender equality in the UK into perspective:-

  • Full time gender pay gap is 10% and the average part-time pay gap is 34.5%,
  • Approximately 70% of people in national minimum wage jobs are held by women
  • Up to 3 million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking, or other violence each year
  • Only 77% of young men agree that having sex with someone who has said no is rape,
  • Women make up only 17% board directors of FTSE 100 companies
  • Up to 30,000 women are sacked each year simply for being pregnant and each year an estimated 440,000 women lose out on pay or promotion as a result of pregnancy
  • It is estimated that the UK would gain up to £23 billion (the equivalent to 2% of GDP) by better harnessing women’s skills in employment.
  • Women’s unemployment is a 24 year high and unemployment is highest among Black and minority ethnic women.
  • At the current rate of progress we would have to wait more than 150 years before seeing an equal number of women and men elected to English local councils.
  • On average two women a week are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner in the UK
  • Research on UK media found that men typically outnumber women as ‘experts’ by 4:1 on major TV and radio programmes across channels.

We have a long way to go to become an equal society and the UK are ranked 26th in the global Gender Gap World rankings – dropping 8 places since 2008 and falling a staggering 15 places since 2006 when the UK were ranked 9th.  We are placed behind all the Scandinavian countries and the Philippines [source: www.theguardian.com]

Adding her voice to the issue of global equality was Helen Grant MP who spoke about her recent trip to Nigeria and witnessing the grief of parents who have lost their daughters to kidnapping by the extremist group Boko Haram.

Helen was visibly emotional as she recounted the story and plight of women and young girls living with the fear of losing their lives or freedom.  Helen said “I can still hear the chants of those women and men saying ‘bring back our girls now and alive’”.

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes also spoke of frustration with gender inequalities telling us about being in France when the French Border Force found a lorry with 25 young women and girls hidden in the back – they were destined for the UK sex slave trade.

Yet the emotive stories of global and UK based inequality were not the only topic. Ann Barnes outlined the positives steps being taken within the Kent Police Force for equality.

She told us that after 1 year of setting up gender strategy groups, equality became mainstream within the force.  There is an equal split of 50%  women 50% men in the role of ‘Superintendent’ in Kent and initiatives such as the ‘Kent Network of Women’ and ‘Circle of Parents for Guidance on Maternity and Paternity’ ensure employers and employees keep in touch.

Ann Barnes stressed that flexible working hours around family life are the norm in the force “you can have flexible working hours unless there is a good reason not to” she explained, and outlined that if an organisation such as the Police Force can change (that was once a heavily male dominated organisation) then any organisation can.

Deputy Lieutenant Rosemary Dymond also attended, representing the Lord-Lieutenant (who represents Her Majesty the Queen).  She gave a rousing talk about the positive nature of women in society – looking at the Royal Family and the strength of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and made the point that there is no one avenue for life to follow – talent comes from everywhere.

Diversity House, based in Sittingbourne, helps target inequality throughout Kent with initiatives and programmes to empower women against inequality.  Such charitable work should be applauded and if you want to get in touch with Diversity House to volunteer your help or find out more about the organisation click here.

Although the focus of the event was to highlight gender inequality and the plight of women globally, the event also celebrated women and their achievements within the working world too and the gallery had welcomed new international artists to their walls from China and Italy.

The next exhibition at Xross-PolyNation Art Gallery following on from Mike Fryer’s will be ‘Augmented Virtual Reality’ by David Williamson.

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Diversity House participated in a project – Learning Alliance on Palliative Care and End of Life (LAPECEL)

The End of Life Practices and Palliative Care among Black and Minority Ethnic Groups (BME) project was a one-year feasibility study on health needs BME groups particularly regarding palliative care and end of life needs. The project took place from June 2014 to June 2015 in the South East of England.

In the particular case of this project a LA called Learning Alliance on Palliative Care and End of Life (LAPECEL) was formed and three meetings were held during the one-year project. These were implemented with the aim of bringing a group of stakeholders together as well as to disseminate as early as possible the preliminary findings. Key stakeholders who participated and collaborated in the LA meetings were Diversity House from Sittingbourne, The Medway Ethnic Minority Forum, Ellenor Lions Hospices and Medway Council. Other collaborations developed by the project were Public Health England and the Gypsy support group One Voice 4 Travellers. Some of the LAPCEL members are currently working together in identifying further possibilities in terms of research and collaboration.

Click here to read the report REPORT End of Life BME Groups 101115 submitted

 

The Heart of Kemsley Walk

A new social walking project, led by Diversity House to get people more involved with their community is launching in Kemsley, Sittingbourne after receiving funding from People’s Health Trust. This social walking programme aims to build positive relationships between people of different ages and backgrounds across the neighbourhood.

People can choose to take part in either a leisurely stroll or speed walking which both last an hour and take place twice a week, anyone is welcome and this includes buggies and dogs.  Along the route the group will map historical trails. The walks will be designed and led by members themselves         and throughout the year there will also be social events such as picnics.

The walk register is now open and we are seeking to add people to our list for walks. The meeting point for walks is at The Kemsley Community House, right next to Kemsley Primary School.

For more information or to get involved contact us on: 01795 420455, email: info@diversityhouse.org.uk