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Going beyond Gold

1st October 2014

NGCV has set a new standard for the arts sector after becoming the first cultural venues in the country to be awarded a national accreditation in recognition of their commitment to equality and diversity.

After 18 months of work, in October 2013, the ten cultural organisations, which operate 19 venues in Tyne and Wear, were presented with The Equality Standard Gold Award. This is an accolade that endorses businesses and employers that lead the field in their approach to equality and diversity with employees, customers and stakeholders.

NGCV’s Human Resources Network, chaired by Seven Stories (The National Centre for Children’s Books), worked with the independent, not-for-profit organisation Equality North East to guide them through the accreditation process and support them in achieving excellence in equality and diversity in the workplace.

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories and Champion of the NGCV Human Resources Network, said: “Each venue has worked with passion and dedication to champion our vision of fair and inclusive access to cultural venues across NewcastleGateshead. 

“We’re delighted to have achieved the Gold Award within The Equality Standard. To have achieved this as a group is testament to our on-going commitment to collaboration and the benefits it brings to the region’s cultural offer.  Our aim is to ensure that we continue to be places where people from all backgrounds will want to work and visit.”

Since achieving the standard, NGCV has continued to improve its work in equality and diversity by working in partnership with Equality North East on additional projects. NGCV has been named an Equality Champion in recognition of its support for ConNEcting for Change, the Equality North East network that aims to improve economic inclusion for minority and disadvantage groups by identifying and addressing barriers within employment, entry to employment, training and services.

The network of members, which includes all ten NGCV organisations, Newcastle College, Gateshead College and the North East Chamber of Commerce, demonstrate best practice through their commitment to equality and diversity across all areas of the businesses and they also actively participate in helping to improve economic inclusion for minority and disadvantaged groups.

Steve Cave, from Equality North East, said: “The North East is becoming more diverse particularly in our major towns and cities.  NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues have been quick to lead the way in attracting new customers and welcoming new groups. They have also led the way nationally in working with groups that have previously found it difficult to access cultural venues such as children with autism.

“Working on the Equality Champions project with NGCV has highlighted that the network as a whole has a genuine passion for equality and fairness. Sage Gateshead for example has recruited a number of equality champions from different departments, ages and grades rather than one senior person. It became very clear that the people I was meeting had become equality champions because they cared about the subject and had a great determination to make a difference.”

Kate Edwards said that NGCV is currently exploring new ways to increase and extend access to cultural activities, through joint work around equalities and building on the standards achieved to date.

For more information about NGCV’s commitment to equality and diversity, please click here.