A “Human Library” was used to get the message across about promoting diversity within West Norfolk at a Business Planning Day held by Freebridge Community Housing.
At the event on Tuesday held at Leziate Park, Freebridge launched its “Working Together” guide, which features first-person case studies of some of its staff members and partners, who give details about their own experiences of diversity.
During the event, they formed the Human Library with the ethos of “Don’t judge a book by its covers” to talk to delegates on an individual basis and to reveal the person behind the diversity stereotype.
Among those taking part was Livvi Hodges, who is a plumber for Freebridge and won the Apprentice of the Year title in the Mayor’s Awards for Business 2013. In the guide she explains how she signed up for the apprenticeship even though she didn’t know any female plumbers and also says that she has never experienced any sexism from her colleagues.
Chief executive of Freebridge, Tony Hall, said: “Our Working Together guide gives a unique insight into the individual experience of diversity and shows the challenges and barriers which people often have to overcome. I would like to wholeheartedly thank everyone who shared their personal story so freely and in doing so, has helped to challenge stereotypes and promote difference.”
The Better West Norfolk is a Diverse West Norfolk, was the overall theme of the day aimed at promoting discussions among local organisations and agencies on the challenges and opportunities to promote diversity within West Norfolk.
Keynote speaker was Squadron Leader Philip Johnston-Davis, from RAF Marham, who gave a thought-provoking presentation on life in the Armed Forces and its challenges for diversity and inclusion.
Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, a global HR expert with extensive experience and expertise on human management issues, also spoke about the challenges and opportunities of an intergenerational workforce.
Laura Williams provided an insight into the Time to Think model, which supports diversity of thinking. And Natalie Garrard, Diversity Liaison Officer from Norfolk Police gave a captivating speech to the 80-strong audience on cohesion within our area.
Delegates, including members of the Clinical Commissioning Group, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, College of West Anglia and the Royal Bank of Scotland, along with members of Freebridge staff, the board and the tenant panel all attended the event.
Mr Hall said: “We truly believe that A Better West Norfolk – which is our vision – needs to be a diverse West Norfolk where difference is celebrated and people can truly be themselves.”
Freebridge would be keen to talk to anyone who is interested in knowing more about the Working Together Guide. Contact Robert Clarke on 03332 404444 to find out more.