National Inclusion Week – United for Inclusion
By Sarah Nelson
Foundation for Future London is a proud member of Inclusive Employers. Eight years ago, they launched National Inclusion Week with the aim to bring organisations together from across the globe to celebrate, share and inspire inclusion practice. This year it runs from 27 September to 3 October 2021.
Each year there is a different theme to the week, and as we approach this year’s ‘United for Inclusion’ week, we wanted to take the opportunity to look at what inclusion and more importantly, unity, means to us as a funder, fundraiser, and place maker. We are proud to join the thousands of ‘inclusioneers’ to take action to be #UnitedForInclusion.
The last 18 months have been a challenging time for so many. The pandemic and the call for action on racism, among other difficulties, have sought to divide and threaten lives, families, and communities. There is no certainty on how long the impact of these will be seen, but the Foundation strives to work together with all our local communities, stakeholders, and partners, to ensure that by being united, we are able to rise to these challenges together and tackle the effects with significant actions.
We want to build London back better AND FAIRER.
Through our funding programmes, and central to all our fundraising activities, are the core objectives to empower local people and communities and provide opportunities for a fairer and more equitable place in society. The effects from Covid-19 have only illuminated the magnitude of economic consequences faced by some of our already disadvantaged communities. At the Foundation for Future London, we recognise that building strong relationships and having open communications with our grantees, stakeholders and partners is the only way to ensure that diversity, inclusion and equity is at the core of all our activities, in response to tackling some of these after-effects.
Take for example some of our great projects recently funded through the Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund, which have a sole purpose to lead to a more equitable place for all those involved.
Projects like D-Lab Studios, who offer an apprenticeship accelerator scheme to young students who may not have networks or opportunities to access the architectural profession; First Sukpaiboon, who brings the community together to trial using unused space for vertical farming projects; Intermission Youth, who develop skills, confidence and team building abilities in young people by exploring modern day themes through Shakespeare; and Re-Build, a group of young people trained in community organising, working together to co-design development options for a derelict local community site.
All these projects drive change and inspire creativity, skill growth, confidence building and so much more for individuals and communities. We are pleased to say that Year 2 of the Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund is now open, and we encourage applications from all the diverse communities and organisations of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
The Foundation for Future London team itself is a small and diverse team. The magic of this is that we then all bring different experiences, opinions and styles, which creates a working space of creativity, respect, and empathy.
We are proud members of Inclusive Employers, Stonewall and the Disability Confident scheme; as well as being members of other charity regulators. And this is because we accept that we can’t know everything, or always get everything right, but what we do have is a commitment to always learn and continue to build our knowledge. This is also why we have open conversations, workshops, and a capacity building programme with and for our grantees and stakeholders.
Equity and inclusion will mean different things to different people, and we can only begin to understand this by sharing our similar values and listening to others. As the American historian Henry Adams stated, ‘Unity is Vision; it must have been part of the process of learning to see it’.