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Working to ensure that BME groups, women and marginalised communities are well represented and valued in social care

13th September 2019

Next month, on October 4th, Healthy London Partnership on behalf of the London Workforce Board will be hosting a masterclass on Workforce Diversity and Inclusion. One of the speakers will be Sophie Chester Glynn, Managing Director of the Manor Community. In her blog below, she shares the work she is doing to support and reward groups facing discrimination and inequality in the social care sector.

Manor Community is a person-centred rehabilitative care home provider that supports people to achieve their goals and aspirations through community care, supported living, residential care and homecare. As Managing Director, I want to create a culture and working environment that is open, attractive and provides growth opportunities to BME groups, women and marginalised communities.

I want to build a foundation on which my staff feel valued and supported to take control of their personal and professional development, as well as change the dated view of social care work.
The team at Manor Community are working to gain fair recognition of the skills involved in social care so that it is equal to comparable positions in other industries and sectors.
We’ve developed clear career development pathways for staff at all levels, from administrators to apprentices and entry level care workers. Furthermore, we recently contributed evidence to the All-Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Social Care for their review of Professionalisation of Social Care Workers; we highlighted issues of pay, legitimacy and status of the workforce. The full report can be accessed here.

At Manor Community, I have set up programmes that allow staff to design and run creative experience activities within the community. This allows opportunities for people to develop confidence and experience as well as showcasing a positive image of care in society. Changing the public image of care into a responsive and holistic community service is the answer, and projects like these can really contribute to that. The reality is, that most people working in social care are already engaged in intricate relationship building across very diverse communities and therefore see projects like these as a natural opportunity for progress and development.

One example of this is a programme we run with Bristol WORKS; an initiative linking organisations with local schools that have connections with marginalised communities. Bristol WORKS helps organisations develop a ‘menu’ of experiences and exchanges to offer the schools. These experiences and exchanges are managed and run with staff to give important groups across the city an insight into the people working in as well as the realities of the industry. Staff gain incredibly beneficial management, outreach and community development experience that hopefully develops them in a personal capacity, as well as being beneficial to their CVs.

In addition to this partnership, we’re building a network of local charities and community groups that help young people take part in a diverse range of community work so that similar ‘menus’ can be offered elsewhere.

I truly believe that genuine and beneficial development means generating innovative opportunities and experiences that allow disadvantaged groups to build up confidence and autonomy, both in a creative and personal way as well as in an economic or sector development capacity.

To strengthen this and progress to the next step, we also want to apply for funding so that a remote, online development hub can be set up. This would allow social care staff to access learning and resources for a range of courses. The key to this online development hub is that it will offer a diverse range of courses to promote genuine personal growth rather than offering a narrow bridge to clinical qualifications. This would include toolkits for creative projects, signposting for engagement with community development and resources related to the humanities.

It’s important to remember that these should be not the conventional ‘top-down’ curriculums that training providers already run and do not really appeal to diverse groups in the workforce. Instead, these should be innovative learning packages for designing experiences that are cost-effective and tailored to localised needs, which allow individuals to take control of how they want to develop themselves, their career or their community.

By developing and investing in opportunities like these, staff working in social care will become more autonomous, confident and able to manage the community relationship work that defines social care, but that is currently omitted from its public image. Social care will be recognised as a legitimate representative of communities and welcomed into integrative-care partnerships and social prescribing networks. The sector will gain a more positive image publicly, and a more legitimate identity professionally. This would obviously then benefit the heavily marginalised groups in the workforce and make it more attractive as a career opportunity to demographic groups who typically do not engage with social care currently.

If you would like to hear more from Sophie, join us at the Workforce Masterclass on October 4th, sign-up for your ticket here.

For more information on the work being done by Sophie at Manor Community, email

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