The ‘Why?’ is deeply personal, having witnessed the positive impact of diversity forums across a variety of sectors, Interlaw in legal, Interbank in Finance and Freehold in Real Estate, as well as internal groups within large organisations like the NHS and police force LGBTQ+ networks, we find it shocking that there is no space in the adult social care sector that aligns with these.
On reflection the gap is logically understood and justifies the inception of the Out Standing Diversity Forum.
The adult social care space is made up to service the diversity of the nation, has independent operators up and down the country, it is estimated 75% per cent of the sector is made up from independent operators, and is hugely complex, servicing residents in much the same way the NHS does.
However, services, suppliers and all those in the sector can include those in independent settings, from at home to large residential nursing home groups and everything in between.
They are funded through local authorities, the NHS and individuals’ own savings, and thus, the ability to bring together this diverse and disparate group is a challenge no one has ever taken on.
The ability to support people, bring communities together and to support a whole underrepresented group of individuals, to give a voice to inequalities and create effective responses to support creative and meaningful change is needed beyond belief.
It is the core mission of the Out Standing Diversity Forum to bring together people from across the sector who identify as LGBTQ+ or non-LGBTQ+ and who work or use adult social care to develop enhanced connections and new relationships from across the generations to tackle inequality in accessing and using adult social care throughout the entire country.
Being LGBTQ+ in social care as an employee or resident can be alienating and challenging; however, creating the Out Standing Diversity Forum is an opportunity to develop a community of people from diverse backgrounds to enhance social cohesion and quality of life for all.
During the pandemic, so much of life went online, and the experiences of those carers and residents in adult social care were disjointed, fractious and lonely.
Face-to-face communication was gone, and, in any case, it was hard for people to find a community prior to the pandemic. The Out Standing Diversity Forum seeks to be that home for the LGBTQ+ community and to act as a conduit to learn and share, bringing together all facets of the sector so that people with different experiences are able to create inclusive and welcoming spaces that foster long-term and beneficial relationships, improving the quality of life for people within adult social care.
Ever wanted to attend London Pride but had no one to go with, or felt nervous about attending? Why not join Director Sanjay Dhrona and the rest of The Outstanding Society to march at London Pride together showing that there is a place for all of our Rainbow Family in Social Care.