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: Rory Macnair

As LGBT History Month comes to a close for 2022, we reflect on the role organisations such as our own can play in creating a more inclusive, diverse and equal sporting community.

Engaging in inclusive practice is fundamental within the Sport Structures mission, and be it in our education, online learning, apprenticeships, or consultancy departments, people are at the heart of what we do.

That includes the people within our own walls, and by drawing on diverse knowledge, experience, and expertise from the sector we can ensure that we make genuine strides towards transforming sport and physical activity.

This year we were thrilled to welcome Senior Consultant Richard Dando to the Sport Structures team. With a wealth of expertise and insight in the sports sector, Richard is perfectly positioned to join us in driving positive change.

Catching up with Richard this week, we heard of his excitement to take on this new challenge.

He said: “I'm really looking forward to joining the team here, to share some of my knowledge and experience from working at Sport Wales and to continue learning and adding value to the various projects that the Sport Structures team have currently got going on.

“I'm really excited about getting stuck into some of the work and projects, helping the sector and its organisations to develop, whether that's in their governance and leadership, or their aims and strategies for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion.”

Richard’s experience, particularly in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, represents a hugely significant resource in a modern sport industry that aims to champion its equal and inclusive landscape.

“In my role at Sport Wales, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in sport were always important for us as an organisation, both internally and externally for the large network of partners that we worked with,” Richard continued.

“It's always been part of Sport Wales’ role to champion equality, diversity and inclusion in sport to ensure that sport is accessible to everyone across Wales and stubborn inequalities in participation are tackled in collaboration with the sector. We played a role in advocating and influencing the sector, whether that's through training and learning, gathering data and insight, or through the application process to understand who they target and change and influence.

“Over the last 18 months I have been part of the Sports Councils Equality Group (SCEG) and along with colleagues from Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, Sport Scotland and UK Sport have helped shape some important projects like the Equality Standard Review and the Transgender Inclusion in Domestic Sport Guidance Review.

"I’m excited to be continuing to shape the Equality Standard Review in my role at Sport Structures and believe it has the potential to help drive change across the UK sport sector."

The focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is by no means limited to our Consultancy department. With LGBT History Month kicking off alongside National Apprenticeship Week in February, we also heard from our Tutor/Assessor Sarina Haddock on the need for ED&I within the apprenticeship curriculum.

Sarina described how all learners were now being encouraged to engage in positive inclusive practice thanks to integrated Equality, Diversity and Inclusion modules in their programme. By pairing ED&I-oriented behaviours with organisational culture, the curriculum ensures that learners understand the significance of an inclusive workplace while promoting best practices.

Additionally, our Education department organised two workshops in February to bring the focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to our community of learners. The first, an Inclusive Activity Programme Workshop, focused on engaging disabled people and those with long-term health conditions in sporting activities. Working alongside principles from Activity Alliance, the workshop aimed to develop inclusive coaches delivering to a range of audiences.

The second workshop, Equality in Sport and Physical Activity, turned its attention specifically to equality in coaching and coach environments. From using the correct language to challenging past and current behaviours, the workshop aimed to promote greater equality for all through the coaching workforce.

LGBT History Month remains a crucial celebration of the rights and history of a hugely diverse community and we were excited to recognise a fantastic month across the sector. We encourage our community to continue the conversation on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and join us in empowering and inspiring people of all backgrounds, abilities and sexual orientations.