Following ongoing global events, staff and carers within the Compass Community have come together to form a group named G.R.A.C.E. They are the Group and Regional Ambassadors Committed to Equality.
The group have been helping to refocus Compass’ efforts in tackling inequality and discrimination and utilising the full talents of staff, carers, and children across the organisation.
We decided on the acronym G.R.A.C.E. (Group and Regional Ambassadors Committed to Equality). GRACE encompassed everything we wanted the group to represent – a sense of coming together, reconciliation but also a commitment to change & working together.
The name ‘GRACE’ seeks to be an umbrella term to develop issues regarding diversity & inequality, ensuring that Compass places equality at the forefront of our strategic decisions and practice when caring for children.
When was the group founded?
In response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the in-humane incidents from May 2020, Compass Community issued the following statement both internally and publicly:
“The Compass Community would like to take this moment to express our unity with our black community. We strive to understand inequality and have taken this time to think and reflect upon ways we can uphold and support black voices. Racism will not and cannot be tolerated in our, and the wider, community.
Compass recognises and respects those effected by intolerance and stands with them in striving to eradicate racism”.
After the statement’s release we wanted to do more. Staff, our foster carers, and young people echoed this sentiment. We decided to act & are mobilising to re-address racial inequality within Compass with the aim of making purposeful change within the organisation.
Who is in GRACE?
We make sure that each of our services are represented. We have an ambassador for fostering, residential, education and therapeutic services. We also have representatives from HR team, our learning and development team and we have had a third-party consultant work with us to make sure the group is the best it can be.
The GRACE roles are to advise and guide the whole organisation in upholding and understanding the lived experiences of black children and adults, including a broader understanding of institutional racism and inequality for minority groups.
The group recognises the importance of providing a safe space for black workers and understands that in acknowledging, discussing, and highlighting a need for an anti-racist strategy there can be an emotional impact on individuals & unresolved issues can we awoken.
Representatives within the group have therefore made themselves available to offer additional support and sign-post individuals to ensure their holistic wellbeing in at the forefront of the work we do.
Meet Garfield, Our Residential G.R.A.C.E Ambassador
“So my name is Garfield and I’m currently the Deputy Manager at in one of our children’s homes and am the Lead Residential Ambassador for GRACE.
I’ve been with Compass Children’s Homes since June 2019, joining initially as a Sessional Support Worker and becoming Deputy Manager this year. I have a long history of working within Residential care (18 years) along with working in Education between 2003 and 2019.
I’ve always been an advocate for fairness and equity and due to that I have often been a lone voice in questioning why people are treated differently and less fairly than others.
I hope everyone can appreciate the need for GRACE within Compass, but if you do have any questions please feel free to ask, as I would rather answer a question you may have, rather than for someone to feel that this doesn’t affect or relate to them. As we say, GRACE is NOT just about Race, it’s about Equality – ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives or talent, be that gender, age, sexual preference, religion or disability”.
One of our aims is for the wider service to understand the changes Compass need to make to respond to the impact of inequality in our society. We strive to gain a clear picture of what is happening within Compass regarding race and equality in general.
We’re aware that creating a group like this takes time, and a lot of commitment from everyone involved. The group meet monthly, and there are ongoing changes being made behind the scenes in each of our services all the time.
Compass Community are excited to see how our G.R.A.C.E group will shape equality and diversity in our organisation, working towards shaping a fairer future for all.