Written By: Kelly Elliot 8/9/15
A North East housing association’s commitment to equality and diversity has been recognised after it retained a top award from a national body set up to promote best practice around the issue.
Cestria Community Housing has been reaccredited with the sought-after Leaders in Diversity award by the National Centre for Diversity following a recent assessment.
The accreditation recognises Cestria’s commitment to developing policies, services and practices which meet the diverse needs of its staff and customers, as well as other stakeholders.
The National Centre for Diversity works with organisations across the UK to promote better understanding of the diverse needs of all groups in society.
Chester-le-Street-based Cestria first achieved Leaders in Diversity status in 2013 and recently underwent a rigorous inspection to ensure it is meeting all the criteria needed to hold onto the top award.
Cestria’s Programme Manager Arshia Bhatti said: “This reaccreditation is an acknowledgement of the hard work of Cestria’s employees, board members and customers in recent years.
“It shows that we are continuing to deliver improvements around equality and diversity in both policy and practice, with our services carefully tailored to ensure they meet the diverse needs of the communities we serve.
“It also demonstrates just how far we have come in understanding that each of our customers is different and that the services we provide need to reflect those differences.”
Organisations which achieve the Leaders in Diversity accreditation have to prove they have made real improvements on the issue of equality and diversity and are acknowledged as being ambassadors in their field.
Since the last inspection Cestria has built on its initial success by supporting local activities that promote equality and diversity, for example sponsoring this year’s Durham and Newcastle Pride events.
It has also proven its commitment to equality and diversity in the housing sector by signing up to the Charted Institute of Housing’s Leading Diversity by 2020 pledge, which challenges housing associations to deliver on 10 challenges by the year 2020.
These include adopting talent management strategies to ensure all staff can succeed and progress and offering mentoring and coaching opportunities for staff and board members.
Cestria has also become a Mindful Employer and has signed the Charter for Employers who are Positive About Mental Health, demonstrating its commitment to supporting mental wellbeing at work.
The Leaders in Diversity accreditation is the latest in an impressive list of achievements around the issue of equality and diversity for Cestria. Other accreditations obtained by the housing association included Disability Two Ticks and the Equality Gold Standard.