BMC achieves Intermediate level of the Equality Standard for Sport

Posted by James Mchaffie on 30/04/2020

We've just heard that the BMC has been awarded the Intermediate level of the Equality Standard for Sport. This is a framework for assisting sports organisations to widen their access and reduce inequalities in sport and physical activity, from under-represented individuals, groups and communities.

The standard is owned by the five Sports Councils through the Sports Councils Equality Group (SCEG) and is based around two broad themes: developing an organisation and developing its services. 

There are four levels of achievement: Foundation, Preliminary, Intermediate & Advanced. To gain the Intermediate level involved a large written body of work showcasing what the BMC was doing well, what it would improve going forward and where it wants to be in a few years. This submission was assessed by an Equality Assessor, Jane Holdsworth and in late April the BMC gave a presentation as the final stage of applying for the standard.

Jane gave very positive feedback to the BMC and we soon received word from Jamie Hooper, the Sport England Senior Equality and Diversity Manager, that the BMC had achieved the award with flying colours.

A segment of the feeback from the submission said:

“The submission and the organisational visit show the organisation’s commitment to the equality and diversity agenda, its willingness to learn and challenge itself and to work in partnership to increase its influence. The range of equality and diversity initiatives that it leads on, or is involved in is impressive, particularly considering the size of the organisation. It was evident from the assessment presentation that the commitment to equality and diversity runs through all levels of the organisation: clear leadership at a senior and board level for equality, diversity and inclusion; an active and inclusive Equality Steering Group; a good understanding of how equality and diversity can be promoted at a grassroots level, such as through climbing walls facilities and an understanding of how equality data will help inform the talent pathway strategy.”

Participants in the Climbing for All fundraising event.

The work to gain this standard was undertaken by the Equity Steering Group (ESG): the committee that helps guide the BMC on matters of equity as well as looking at ways to reduce barriers to climbing, walking and the outdoors for under-represented groups.

The group is chaired by Cressida Allwood, supported by Youth & Equity Officer James McHaffie as secretary, and comprises volunteers from under-represented backgrounds, as well as professionals who work in areas of equality, diversity and inclusivity.

The ESG has five sub-groups covering: disability; mental health; black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups; and women’s development; LGBTQ. The ESG also had help from a designated support lead, Liz Davidson, who gave invaluable help on getting the BMC up to speed for the requirements of the Standard. 

Since its formation, the ESG has been involved with lots of projects such as disability symposiums supporting practitioners working with people with disabilities and equity symposiums aimed at creating more outdoor leaders from BAME backgrounds, as well as delivering disability awareness in rock climbing courses and helping to develop the Paraclimbing Series of climbing competitions. For more information on some of the work the ESG has done or been involved with click here.

The BMC has now developed an Equality Plan which gives objectives, actions, timescales, progress and impact for equity related workstreams. It includes articles to be written, publications and resources to be produced, media representation of under-represented groups, staff training, events to be delivered and will help give some consistency and direction to equity related work going forwards.

Women's Trad Festival. Photo: Jessie Leong.

Lynn Robinson, BMC President is the equality champion and Nominated Director Jonny Dry is the Board’s representative on the ESG. This facilitates good communications between BMC staff, the Board of Directors, National Council and members on matters of equity and how the BMC can continue to develop opportunities into the future. 

On hearing that the BMC had been awarded with this standard, Lynn commented, “This is fantastic news and a testament to all the ongoing hard work and commitment of the BMC staff and hundreds of volunteers”.

Black Dog Outdoors walk poster.

By attaining the Intermediate Standard it gives some acknowledgement that the BMC has been doing some good work and is going in the right direction in trying to make climbing, walking and mountaineering accessible to everyone. In the near future we’ll be looking at engaging the membership with the work the Equity Steering Group is working on and members can think about getting involved on events as participants, volunteers or in developing new projects and in doing so you might well be helping to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives.

Big thanks to: Cressida Allwood, the volunteers of the ESG, Liz Davidson and anyone else who helped to support the BMC in attaining this award.



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