Living in Harmony aims to create a welcoming and inclusive North Edinburgh where services are accessible for all. Through a network of workers and residents it provides opportunities for residents to meet and get to know each other and overcome cultural barriers, and for workers to develop more inclusive practices and services.
In October 2015, our ‘Positively Diverse’ event brought together 55 people living and working in the area. 25 organisations were represented. We wanted to put residents’ experiences firmly at the centre of the event. We have seen that many organisations in the area are keen to invest in social inclusion, but often struggle for time, ideas and resources. The event provided challenging stories from local Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) residents and went on to suggest solutions and ideas. We wanted to show organisations simple ways in which they could adapt their work to make it more inclusive.
By the end of the day people were energised and full of ideas. They recognised that making changes in practice to be more inclusive need not be difficult or expensive. The important step is to start now.
Key messages from the day were:
- You don’t need to be an expert in all cultures – it’s okay to ask
- As workers we may not understand the barriers to our services – we need to listen to residents and act on what they tell us
- We have a duty under the Equalities Act to ensure our services are accessible
- We can work together to achieve a more inclusive and welcoming North Edinburgh
In February 2016, we carried out a further evaluation with organisations that had attended the event, to find out what, if anything, they had changed within their organisations as a result of the event. The full evaluation report is attached below.