WTT background

Walking the Talk

Putting workplace equality, diversity and inclusion into practice

The social sector has a diversity issue. And we’re missing out on talent as a result.

Walking the Talk is a cross-sector partnership led by NPC and funded by Trustees Unlimited and Russam, with input from brap, Community LinksChwarae Teg, and The Peel.

We’re building on our previous research, which suggested many in the social sector did not know what to do about diversity or believed it didn’t apply to them. Our goal is to amplify voices within the sector, sharing practical advice and honest personal perspectives to empower the social sector, including ourselves, to step up and do better.

We certainly do not claim to have all the answers. We are grappling with the same uncertainties as many of you. We know we have a huge amount to do ourselves. This is just the start of our conversation, and we would love to hear your thoughts on what we should do next.

So, what can you expect from Walking the Talk? Each contribution is different, but we think there are some clear themes:

  1. Share power. This means giving employees time and capacity to develop solutions. Avoid tokenism by having people with lived experience as trustees.
  2. Share responsibility. Diversity, inclusion and equality are everyone’s job. Be values driven at every level across your organisation.
  3. Take an intersectional approach. It is not good enough to take on one category at a time. Barriers in the workplace are interconnected. Viewing each in isolation leads to a tick box mentality.

We hope that by engaging with the contributions below you will be inspired and equipped to act, so that as a sector we can together walk the talk on diversity.

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #WalkingTheTalk.




Read the introductory piece from Trustees Unlimited's Sophie Livingstone

Sophie Livingstone, Trustees Unlimited’s Managing Director, talks about why they supported this project, the need for effective organisations not to fall into cliquishness and the dangerous blindness that comes when we don’t acknowledge our own privilege.

Read here
Sophie Livingstone


Arvinda And Venu

Diverse leadership: Arvinda Gohil and Venu Dhupa

Arvinda Gohil, former CEO of the charity Community Links, and Venu Dhupa, Director of Action and Advocacy at Community Links sit down with NPC to discuss the challenges of leading as women of colour in the social sector, what it means to be a role model and what diverse organisations look like.

Listen here
Fozia and Jo

Diversity in funding: Fozia Irfan and Jo Wells

Fozia Irfan, CEO of Beds & Luton Community Foundation, and Jo Wells, Director of the Blagrave Trust join NPC to discuss diversity as it is understood by foundations, the monetary value of lived experience and the extent to which US foundations are leading the UK.

Listen here
3 faces

Diversity in campaigning: Sophie Yates Lu, Syriah Bailey and Kirsty McNeil

Sophie Yates Lu and Syriah Bailey of Campaign Bootcamp join Kirsty McNeil in the NPC offices to discuss the importance of diversity to campaigns in the social sector, generational differences in the understanding of the term and respective roles of larger established organisations and smaller, insurgent ones.

Listen here
R & P

Race, charities and the media: Priscilla Baffour and Rob Berkley

Priscilla Baffour, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the Financial Times and Rob Berkley, founder of BlkOutUK.com and former director of the Runnymede Trust joins NPC to discuss the contrasts between diversity as it is understood by charities and by media organisations, the isolating nature of being the 'diverse' person in an organisation and the complicated nature of organisational culture.

Listen here


Enough with the poshsplaining

Roger Harding, Chief Executive of RECLAIM – the working class youth leadership charity, explains how his beneficiaries know when they’re being ‘poshsplained’ to and the dangers that they are driven away by traditional charities. 

Read here
Roger Harding

Diversity is meaningless. Find a new word

Amna Akhtar and Kiran Kaur are the Co-Founders of GirlDreamer, an empowerment platform for the next generation of women of colour make the case that run of unserious ineffective diversity initiatives have turned off the people the term ‘diversity’ is supposed to appeal to.

Read here

We should never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world

Jo Miller, former Chief Executive at Doncaster Council discusses how local government builds work on diversity into a range of the work it does. 

Read here
Jo Miller

Making the most of mums

Sophia Parker, Founder of Little Village a charity that provides free good quality baby clothes and equipment to local families that need them, talks about the power of flexible working to bring women and other people with caring responsibility and the unexpected challenges it can bring.

Read here
Sophia Parker

Putting lived experience at the heart of your work

In this Q&A Rose Mahon, Lisa Newman and Louise Temple of the Nelson Trust, a charity that brings belief, hope and long-term recovery to people whose lives have been torn apart by addiction and the multiple and complex needs that come with it explore the value of putting people with lived experience of an issue at the heart of your organisations work.

Read here
3 people from NELSON TRUST

Heads and hearts: The challenge of real change

Karen Sheldon, who is currently responsible for implementing the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda at the British Red Cross, reflects on the changes they have made and the challenges of changing a culture where people feel they are already ‘in the right’. 

Read here
Karen Sheldon

Six lessons for real change in diversity and inclusion

Emma Francis, AICRS, Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility, Zurich Insurance UK explains the six lessons which have led to them becoming a leading, award winning organisation on diversity and inclusion in the private sector.

Read here
Emma Francis

Diversity requires modern working practices

Cerys Furlong, Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg Wales’s leading economic development agency for women, explores how the rise of flexible working can help bring more marginalised groups into the work place.

Read here
Cerys Furlong

Matching the best diverse talent with progressive employers

Victoria Passant, Programme Manager – Youth Employment at Leonard Cheshire, explores the misconceptions employers often have about the disabled interns she helps places as part of the Change 100 programme and how the program helps overcome them.

Read here
Victoria Passant

Taking the first steps

Catherine Garrod, Head of Inclusion at Sky, sets out what she and the team at Sky have done to improve their diversity and what the social sector can learn from it.

Read here
Catherine Garrod Sky

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #WalkingTheTalk