The CSP’s BAME (black and minority ethnic) network is going from strength to strength
More than 120 new members have joined since the Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of George Floyd in the US at the end of May.
Launched 25 years ago, the BAME network is the largest of the CSP’s three self-organising diversity networks and membership now numbers more than 840. In another sign of its growing prominence, a new network Twitter account (@cspbame) set up in early July and run by network members already has over 500 followers.
Any CSP member who self-identifies as BAME can join the network. Karen is one of the new members. She told Frontline: ‘I joined the group to connect with other BAME physiotherapists, to support each other, share experiences, ideas and knowledge to improve equality in diversity within the NHS and our professional communities. This way we can create a flourishing environment for BAME physiotherapists of the present and the future.’
Tina is another new member. She says: ‘As a student I am only one of five students from a BAME heritage out of currently 50+ students [on my course].The network made me feel that I had a support group who could understand what being from a BAME background meant in the physio world and I could connect and not feel isolated anymore.’
This is a way we can create a flourishing environment for BAME physiotherapists of the present and future
While taking forward issues raised by the worldwide BLM movement and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the BAME community, network members have had to contend with the effect of the pandemic and lockdown on the traditional calendar of influencing and campaigning – including TUC Black Workers’ Conference and the CSP’s Annual Representative Conference either cancelled or moved online. The CSP put forward a motion to Black TUC on discrimination in recruitment processes and votes by delegations were being taken remotely in July.
Network days, typically held at the CSP’s London headquarters two or three times a year to allow the network members to debate and develop plans, as well as hearing outside speakers, have moved to video conferencing platforms.
In July, a BAME network meeting on Zoom involved CSP head of employment relations Claire Sullivan and chief executive Karen Middleton, and heard from Samantha Hosten, Chair of NHS BAME network of networks. A series of smaller Zoom meetings is planned, including a session to refresh planning on network and BAME-related communications, building on discussions at the joint diversity network meeting in November.
Activity to help strengthen links with students and the reps networks, which has also slowed or been put on hold during the lockdown, is expected to pick up later this year. It will include making publicity about the diversity networks available digitally, for sharing with new student members and physio societies, and a gathering of regional stewards and network convenors to develop stronger workplace equality diversity and inclusion (EDI) support.
As Frontline goes to press, BAME members are being consulted via their iCSP network on the broad outcomes of the recently announced EDI strategy.
Anyone who joins the network is invited to join the BAME WhatsApp group, which is run by the network co-convenors.
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