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Race Equality Week

Hear from Megan Manneh, Chair of the RNLI’s Race Equality Network, on uniting in action this Race Equality Week to challenge race inequality.

Race Equality Week logo

Photo: Race Equality Matters

For the second time here at the RNLI, we are proudly marking Race Equality Week across our charity. Race Equality Week is the first UK awareness week dedicated to improving racial equality. Over 2,000 organisations took part last year – and we are proud to be one of those on the list.

Since marking Race Equality Week last year, we have continued to make strides as an organisation to better ourselves and embody the promises we made in summer 2020.

In recognition of the week, I wanted to take some time to update you on the work we are doing in this space and offer you the opportunity to get involved yourself.

Race Equality Network

2021 saw the creation of the Race Equality Network here at the RNLI. The network has grown to 18 members since it started, has already supported multiple teams across the organisation and has successfully held two events centred on the topic of race; including a fascinating talk by British Historian, David Olusoga.

The network has big plans for 2022. We aim to tackle big themes such as recruitment, representation, and training, while also focusing on supporting our Black and Brown colleagues and amplifying the voices of people of colour.

The Race Equality Network is open to everyone, regardless of race, so if you’d like to get involved and help us shape an inclusive organisation then please reach out to me at [email protected] 

BSA partnership

The lifesaving work with the BSA (Black Swimming Association), one of our most important strategic partners in water safety, is going from strength to strength. Soon we will be employing six members of water safety staff into the RNLI, recruited through the BSA, to lead vital work with some of the most at risk communities. Additionally, alongside Portsmouth University we are sponsoring some really exciting Float to Live research for those of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage.

As we look to diversify the recruitment of seasonal lifeguards this year we will also be pulling on the expertise and influence of the BSA to support this. Watch this space.

That’s what we’re doing, what can you do?

The theme of this year’s Race Equality Week is #ActionNotJustWords. We’re in the process of doing just that. And this week, we challenge you to do the same.

What can you do in your role to turn words into actions?

It could be attending one of the brilliant webinars that Race Equality Matters are running this week as part of Race Equality Week, pledging to read a book on the topic of race, or even sharing this article with your fellow volunteers to help raise awareness.