Edinburgh, June 2011 - Trust Housing Association has re-confirmed its commitment to equal opportunities by taking over sole responsibility for the award-winning Equal Opportunities Programme formerly supported by Trust and two other housing associations.
Trust’s decision to hold onto its involvement follows a wide-ranging independent consultation on Equality and Diversity carried out on behalf of the three associations including how best to support the future development work of the Equal Opportunities Programme.
The Programme has been jointly funded and managed by Trust, Hanover (Scotland) and Bield Housing Associations since it was originally set up back in 1999, with additional support on individual projects by external funders including the Lottery and the Scottish Government.
The Programme has been at the forefront of innovative grassroots projects which have successfully tackled diversity and equality issues by reaching out to disadvantaged minority groups throughout Scotland as well as helping to establish best practice on diversity and equality issues among a wide range of public service providers.
Trust Housing Association Chief Executive Bob McDougall said: “ We have enjoyed a highly successful and harmonious partnership with Hanover and Bield for the last 12 years and I would personally like to thank both associations for their commitment and support over this period. However, the time was right to consider an alternative operating structure which would ensure that the valuable work done by the Equal Opportunities Programme can not only continue but evolve and widen its remit to encompass the wider Equality and Diversity agenda in future.”
He added: “Trust is fully committed to achieving best practice on diversity and equality issues and we are delighted to be playing an even more prominent role in shaping the future work of the Equal Opportunities Programme. We look forward to an exciting and busy new chapter and working even more closely with Housing Equal Opportunities Manager Rohini Sharma Joshi and her talented team.”
The Equal Opportunities Programme’s successful initiatives include Happy To Translate (HTT), a national symbol for language and communication assistance for people whose first language is not English. HTT has now been adopted by almost 60 UK member organisations who have committed to providing high quality interpretation and translation services for clients who struggle with written or spoken English.
They also include a ‘Good Practice Guide’ aimed at instilling best practice among service providers dealing with people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities and at fostering a deeper understanding of cultural, social and economic issues affecting BME people.
The Equal Opportunities Programme and its staff will continue to work in Trust’s headquarters at New Mart Road in Edinburgh and will report directly to Trust Housing Director of Corporate Services Kenny Nicholson.
Nicholson said: “We have great confidence in the Programme’s future success under the new structure but we have also identified potential opportunities for future development and growth. Our Equal Opportunities team offer a skill and knowledge base on Equalities and Diversity issues which is second to none and I believe the time is now right to offer this wider knowledge base to other organisations who might benefit from our expertise ”