1. Our aims
1.1 Rising Voices Wessex has been established to promote the good health and wellbeing of people living with or affected by cancer for the public benefit in particular but not exclusively by:
- providing and promoting music participation through singing as a means of regaining confidence, health and wellbeing to complement rehabilitation during and following treatment for cancer;
- providing support to families and carers of people living with or affected by cancer; improving public awareness regarding the problems and circumstances of people living with and beyond cancer as well as their families and carers through information and education;
- seeking to "normalise" post-cancer living by making available support through singing in the community;
- fostering mutual help, co-operation and friendship in an understanding and empathetic environment for those affected by cancer;
- making appropriate representations to relevant statutory bodies and other organisations on behalf of people affected by cancer;
- promoting, conducting, and engaging in research/evaluation as to the benefits of music and singing to those affected by cancer – and publishing the results of research/evaluations in appropriately;
- promoting a strategy that supports the development of other choirs within the Wessex Region and forges appropriate musical and cultural links with other like-minded choirs.
1.3 We therefore aim to ensure that the values of equality, diversity, and respect for all are embedded into everything that we do.
2. About our policy
2.1 This policy is intended to demonstrate the commitment of Rising Voices Wessex to eliminating discrimination and encouraging and valuing diversity among staff, volunteers, partners, suppliers, users of our services and Trustees.
2.2 We recognise our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 (appendix), and are committed to meeting them in full. We believe that a culture that embraces equality and values diversity will help us to ensure that everyone feels involved and included in our plans, programmes and activities.
2.3 We aim to create an environment which respects and welcomes everyone, and in which no form of bullying, harassment, disrespectful or discriminatory behaviour is tolerated by anyone towards anyone. This particularly applies in relation to the ‘protected characteristics’ named in the Equality Act 2010:
- Age, disability, gender reassignment, income, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
3. Our responsibilities
3.1 Rising Voices Wessex understands that for equality to be achieved this policy needs to be made understandable to, and embraced by staff, volunteers, suppliers, partners, residents and trustees.
The policy is fully supported and welcomed by all volunteers and has been agreed by our Board of Trustees.
3.2 The Trustees and those engaged or employed on behalf of Rising Voices Wessex, volunteers, suppliers, partners have a responsibility to ensure that their own language and actions are consistent with the spirit as well as the contents of this policy.
3.3 Overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies with Rising Voices Wessex Chairman and its board of Trustees.
4. Our commitments
4.1 Rising Voices Wessex recognises that an Equality and Diversity Policy alone is not enough to ensure that equality and diversity are central to everything that we do.
4.2 We will seek to create an environment in which diversity and the contributions of all staff, volunteers, suppliers, partners, and trustees are recognised and valued in all that we do.
4.3 In introducing this policy we recognise that many people are unfamiliar with the ways in which discrimination and disadvantage affect people’s health, well-being and quality of life. We will therefore support people to develop equalities awareness and understanding.
4.4 To ensure that we are meeting the aims and the spirit of this policy we will:
- Discuss and review how well we are implementing this policy, and adjust our practices where necessary;
- Assess any significant new or revised policies and procedures for their impact on equality;
- Embed equality and diversity into our development plans;
- Ensure our employment practices and procedures are consistent with the aims of this policy.
5. Working with contractors, suppliers and partners
It is important to us that contractors, suppliers and partners and any other individual or organisation working on behalf of Rising Voices Wessex are aware of and agree to comply with our equality and diversity policy while that work is underway. In addition we are committed to:
- using accessible venues for rehearsals, events and meetings;
- using plain English and accessible communications as far as it is within our means to do so, for example, emails, letters, reports social media and publicity materials.
6. Review and Action
6.1 We recognise that it is important for us to regularly review this policy to ensure that it reflects up to date equality legislation and best practice.
6.2 A review of our Equality and Diversity Policy will be carried out on a 3 yearly basis as a minimum and any necessary actions taken if required.