Swindon Community Conference 2017

On Saturday 21st January Swindon’s community and voluntary sector came together for a Community Conference at the National Trust ‘Heelis’ head offices, organised by Voluntary Action Swindon. The theme of this year’s conference was around tackling inequality and a wide range of groups presented on a range of issues and projects, including Swindon Equality Coalition, Swindon City of Sanctuary, Swindon Feminist Network, Let’s Hear In Swindon, National Trust, Swindon Equality Group, Healthwatch Swindon, Community First and Volunteer Centre Swindon.

Nearly 100 people from over 60 community groups attended and helped to develop and launch a new ‘Swindon Equality & Inclusion Charter’ as part of a new project led by Voluntary Action Swindon and Swindon Equality Coalition to promote equality and inclusion and tackle discrimination in the town, which they hope as many local residents as possible will sign up to. To view and sign the Charter please visit www.swindon200.uk

The Swindon200 project will also be seeking to sign up 200 people in Swindon over the course of 2017 to become ‘Equality Ambassadors’, a new voluntary role to support Swindon to become a model of fairness and inclusion.

Many people are already doing this work, so we want to use this both as way of celebrating and highlighting the work being done but also as a way to inspire more people to take an active role in shaping our town for the better. We also aim to bring people together, both individual members of the community and constituted groups and organisations, to create better opportunities for collaboration and working together.

In return the project will offer opportunities for networking and training to enable and support the ambassadors to carry out their roles. The role has been designed to not be a huge and demanding commitment, but to be easy to integrate into everyday life – after all, it’s in everyday life that we may witness and be able to tackle discrimination. All we expect is that those who sign up attend a couple of events a year, one around networking and collaboration and another to help develop skills around campaigning or influencing. Of course everyone’s welcome to get more involved and attend as many meetings and events as they want to.

The Charter starts with a statement that reads “We believe in respecting all individuals and that equality underpins a healthy, dignified and well-functioning society. We value the presence of all members of our community, their voices and contribution. Our aspiration is that Swindon will become a model for fairness, inclusion, opportunity and fulfilment.” and includes four commitments around increasing personal knowledge, sharing information, creating change and taking action.

For more information please email Hannah Parry at hannah@vas-swindon.org or telephone Voluntary Action Swindon on 01793 538398.

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