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Colleagues join together for Removing the Barriers Conference

12 May 2023

  • Colleague health and wellbeing

Colleagues from across University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) came together at Castle Green in Kendal on Tuesday for our Removing the Barriers Conference. The event was held to mark Equality and Human Rights Week 2023 showcasing equality and human rights issues including fertility, gender transition and neurodiversity.

This year’s event was opened by Conference Chair and Keynote Speaker Joanne Lockwood, Founder of See Change Happen, who talked about the experiences of trans people and transgender awareness.

The audience also heard inspirational words from Isobel Smith, DFN Project Search Job Coach at Kendal College, who talked about the DFN Project Search Programme which is a transition to employment programme for people with autism and learning disabilities. As part of the programme, UHMBT offers work-based learning opportunities to help people with autism and learning disabilities secure meaningful paid employment.

Isobel was joined by Patrick, one of the interns, who gave a confident and intelligent talk about what it means to be involved in the DFN Project Search programme and what skills have been learned. Patrick said he was ‘a shy person before joining the project’ and now wants to be ‘happy, have a job and a family’.

The event included the following talks and workshops:

  • Welcoming colleagues from overseas led by Alma Paule, International Retention Programme Lead
  • Removing the barriers for truly inclusive recruitment led by Liesje Turner, Head of Strategic Recruitment
  • Why Fertility Matters at Work led by Natalie Silverman and Claire Ingle, Co-Founders of Fertility Matters at Work
  • Best practice approaches for inclusive people management, led by Francesca Higgins, Inclusion and Engagement Adviser, and Janette Thorpe and Sally Comber, Organisational Development Leads
  • Equity in Practice: nurturing diverse talent led by Matt France, Associate Director for Organisational Development and Hannah Chadisingh, Head of Inclusion and Engagement.

Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive for UHMBT, said: “Our Removing the Barriers Conference was an amazing day and an important step in deepening our culture of belonging and reaffirming our vision and values.

“It gave us further opportunity to come together and explore how we celebrate and further develop a welcoming, inclusive and positive culture for our colleagues at UHMBT and the communities that we belong to.”