The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a brutal spotlight on the inequalities which determine life expectancy and life chances generally in this country. These inequalities were well known but the official response to COVID has demonstrated that they are political choices. On top of this has come the Black Lives Matter worldwide response to the murder of George Floyd and outrage at racist policing in the US and in this country, frequently evidenced in recent months by racist assaults which have been captured on phones and dashcams.
This has led to a deeper examination of Britain's brutal imperial past, which continues toinform present day power structures and wealth distribution. (This seems to have come as a surprise to many in the media and the corridors of power.) Cartwheel has always worked to address inequalities within our communities. Working with individuals and communities who experience significant and sometimes multiple disadvantages to inspire, raise confidence and aspirations, and support them to achieve their potential. We wholeheartedly believe in the power of this work and remain committed to it.
As Cartwheel reshape our artistic and social programmes going forward, we are committing to a long-term programme of change that means Cartwheel Arts will be reviewing everything we do through an anti-discrimination lens. With confidence and competence, we will all need to tackle discrimination and racial and social disparities head on in though our policies, processes, procedures, practice and our work.
Let us ask ourselves what a world with genuine social equity would look like – and begin to action that change together with our communities.
Our first step has been producing our Anti-Discrimination action plan with clear targets and timescales, which will be reviewed on an annual basis. The action plan outlines the work that we do in this area each year, including staff, volunteer and Trustee training, education and development, project work; consultation and co-designing with the diverse communities that we serve; and developing more creative opportunities for racially diverse communities and people living in areas of high deprivation. We will publish the progress made, or barriers encountered, within the action plan through our annual Impact Report.
We are a small organisation, and do not have all the answers but we are committed to developing, learning, opening up recruitment to diverse individuals, supporting and championing Anti-Discrimination strategies.
We welcome comments on our action for change and would be interested in sharing learning with other VCSE organisations.