Friends House is committed to fostering equality, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and radical acceptance in its event spaces and workplace, where different experiences aren’t just tolerated but valued and appreciated. We welcome people of any faith, sexual orientation, class, background, ethnicity, and ability in our venue.
We are always exploring areas of improvement for our whole organisation (Friends House and BYM staff). This led to an EDI audit report, made available to staff in June 2022. As a result, an EDI Working Group was set up. They worked with a consultancy and produced a Vision Statement for the company.
We have listed below what we do to make sure our venue is a welcoming and safe environment for all.
A welcoming venue to all
We want every individual in our venue (customers and staff) to feel respected and valued in their identities. Here are a few things we have done to acknowledge our diversity:
- We trained mental health first aiders,
- We created a gender-neutral toilet facility,
- We installed dispensers with free sanitary products,
- Our worship space is available for quiet time and prayer of any faith.
We want to be inclusive and accessible to all. To ensure this is happening, we have the following in place:
- A detailed accessibility guide on the Accessable website for all the areas in our venue,
- Signs for autism awareness on our hand driers,
- Two accessible lifts with voice announcements and hearing loops,
- Enhanced lighting throughout the meeting spaces to aid the visually impaired,
- Accessible toilets on every floor,
- Assistive audio systems (induction loop or infrared) are installed in our larger meeting spaces, portable systems are available for our other rooms.
Our diverse catering options encompass a wide range of cuisines and flavours to cater to different tastes and preferences:
- We offer gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, nut-free, and halal-certified meal options to cater to different dietary choices,
- Allergen information is available to ensure attendees can make informed choices about their meals,
- We are proud to offer premium quality products that are ethically sourced and sustainably grown in our café and meeting rooms.
Working on race and equality
We recognise that this is an ongoing work, requiring time and training at a large scale. We implemented the following:
- Race Equity workshops: 3 sessions focusing on ‘Power and privilege’, ‘Micro-aggressions’, ‘How to have challenging conversations safely’,
- Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion workshops set up over the last few months and attended by all staff.
- As part of our comprehensive training and development programme for staff, we are planning to put on workshops on resilience and a workshop to help staff deal with micro-aggression,
- Workshops will also be put in place for new staff as part of the onboarding process.
Fair employment practices
Our employment offers are open to all, and we encourage applicants to fill in our diversity monitoring form when applying. Every application is anonymised, so that we don’t know the name, gender, or race of the applicants. On top of that:
- We are a Living Wage Employer,
- We pay staff above the London Live Wage,
- We have a 1:4 ratio between our highest and our lowest paid staff,
- We report on our gender pay gap. Our median Gender Pay Gap for 2023 is –0.77 in favour of women. This compares very well to the National Figure of 14.9%.
Family friendly policies
We already had flexible working policies before the pandemic, and decided to extend it to everyone whose work doesn’t require to be on site full-time. This is what we have in place:
- The right to request flexible working is available to staff after 26 weeks of service,
- The right to request flexible working when coming back from maternity leave.
In July 2022, the maternity/adoption policy was also improved in three ways:
- All staff with more than 26 weeks service will receive 16 weeks full pay, followed by 18 weeks half pay and 5 weeks SMP consecutively
- Parents expecting multiple births will receive an additional two weeks parental leave,
- Staff undergoing IVF treatment will receive 10 days paid leave to attend the appointment and up to 5 days paid leave for staff who wish to accompany their partner to appointments who are receiving IVF treatment in any 12 months period.