Valuing diversity

Wherever you work in health and social care, the working environment should feel open and inclusive. There should be no discrimination, bullying or violence. The Equality Act is clear that people are protected from discrimination.

Delivering high quality care depends on creating positive, inclusive work environments where people want to come to work. Visit our section for managers and leaders for more information on compassionate and inclusive leadership.

Kent Equality Cohesion Council provides free advice and support around a range of diversity issues relating to race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, gender and age.

Nationally, 93 per cent of disabled people do not use a wheelchair so it’s important to remember that disabilities can be visible or hidden and can cover everything from learning difficulties to heart disease. 

Please visit our managers and leaders section for guidance and training around on supporting disabled staff.

National support 

Scope is a disability equality charity which provides practical information and emotional support. 

Royal National Institute of the Blind offers practical support and advice offer practical and emotional support to blind and partially sighted people, their families and carers. 

Action on Hearing Loss provides information and advice online, and local support services, to those who are deaf or have hearing loss or tinnitus.

Access to Work can help you stay in work if you have a physical or mental health condition or disability. The support can include grants for practical support, advice about managing your health at work, and payment for communication support at job interviews.

Local support

Kent County Council offers various support including bus passes, the hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard, wheelchair services and local activities and support for disabled people.

Disability Assist is a charity which helps people with disabilities in Kent to live more independent lives. They can support individuals or organisations.

Kent Friendz provides support for children and adults with learning and physical disabilities, their families and carers within Kent.

ABLEize Disability and Mobility Directory offers details of disabled groups, sports activities and social clubs in Kent and Medway, as well as websites highlighting support and volunteer opportunities.

The health and social care workforce in Kent and Medway is extremely diverse and we know that leads to improved quality of care for patients, a more sustainable workforce supply and increased efficiency of services. 

However, we still need to be aware of discrimination and other forms of unfair treatment, providing support to ensure everyone feels safe and secure in the workplace.

National support 

The Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) provides practical advice and information about the Equality Act 2010 and discrimination. 

For NHS staff 

NHS England has developed support for our diverse colleagues which includes free and confidential coaching for NHS staff from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Local support 

Medway Council’s Medway Food Partnership has eat well guides tailored for African and Caribbean communities. 

Carers' Support East Kent supports carers who are Black, Asian and those from another ethnic communities.

Ethnic Minorities in Canterbury (EMIC) focuses on issues affecting people from minority ethnic backgrounds in Canterbury and the district.

Diversity House promotes community integration, re-integration, social inclusion and cohesion within the Swale and Kent communities. The charity provides advice and guidance on access to housing, employment, resolution of family and social problems, addressing race and hate incidents, health promotion and health education, social networking opportunities, drop-in-services, youth club, culture and heritage programmes, gender issues, volunteering and more.

Folkestone Nepalese Community (FNC) provides advice and support to Nepalese and Gurkha veterans residing in Folkestone and the surrounding area.

African Caribbean Forum Kent supports BAME communities in North Kent. The organisation provides cultural integration and family support services; creating voices for African and Caribbean communities through consultation services, pastoral support, business start-up and employability sessions.

Kwan Ngei is a Kent-based Chinese association aiming to provide facilities for Chinese people to socialise, support each other, and integrate into the local and the wider societies. 

Nigerian Community Association Kent and Medway aims to support the socio-economic and welfare needs of Nigerians living in Kent and Medway.

Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) promotes an awareness of African and Caribbean Culture, through arts, educational and social programmes, primarily for the benefit of its members but also accessible by the wider community. It also supports members on issues relating to racial harassment, undertaking prison visits, as well as many other functions.

National support 

Network for Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care in Health promotes the understanding of pastoral, spiritual, and religious care needs of patients, relatives, carers, and staff in healthcare.

The Salvation Army offers practical help for people without discrimination. The work they do is varied, from helping victims of modern slavery, to nurseries, budgeting and debt, community choirs and food banks.

Christians Against Poverty provides free financial help and support, whether that's help to get out of debt, find a job, or gain vital life skills. 

Inspirited Minds is a faith-based mental health charity working predominantly with those from Islamic faith – as their research showed Muslims found it difficult to seek help – but supports people from all backgrounds. 

The Association of Christians in Counselling provides a free faith-based counselling service is available to NHS staff of all beliefs and none. The sessions can be via video call or telephone and are delivered by professional counsellors who are sensitive to religious and non-religious spiritualities. 

Local support

Kent Workplace Mission offers professional chaplaincy services to places of work across Kent and Medway.

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara is a Sikh place of worship in Gravesend which can accommodate 1,200 worshippers. It has a range of educational rooms, a lecture theatre, computer room and library.

Gravesend & Dartford Muslim Association is an Islamic/Muslim faith group with a mosque based in Gravesend.

Buddhist Community Centre Kent provides a place for various ritual ceremonies such as naming, weddings, weaning and funerals as well as holding conferences, pujas and group meditation sessions in Mahayana Buddhist tradition of Nyingmapa Lineage. 

Triratna West Kent Buddhist Group meets weekly both online and in person at venues in Tunbridge Wells Hastings and Eastbourne.

Buddhist Friends Network in Maidstone is a small, friendly group of Buddhist practitioners with links to the Thai Forest tradition, but not exclusively so.

Tunbridge Wells Islamic and Cultural Association is home to a diverse and friendly community, represented by dozens of different ethnicities, based in a mosque and community centre.

National support 

MindOut is a mental health service run by and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people, working to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all LGBTQ communities. 

LGBT Foundation is a national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities.

Stonewall stands for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace people everywhere. You can find services and community groups local to you, and access information and advice.

The government website has useful advice and support information for LGBTQ+ people. 

Galop supports LGBTQ+ people who have experienced abuse and violence.

Local support 

Kent and Medway LGBT Community Action Group is a private Facebook group for the LGBT community in Kent and Medway. 
The Live Well Kent and Medway LGBT+ Support Group for those in Dover, Deal and Margate meets in a safe and supportive environment for a friendly discussion to gain support from other members of the community, make new friends and share experiences.

Medway Pride CIC promotes equality and diversity across all communities of Medway, particularly the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Medway Gender & Sexual Diversity Centre (MGSDC), based in Rochester, is a place where LGBTQI+ people their families and friends can meet in a safe environment to enable them to receive peer support, education, training, advice, and information.

Thanet LGBT50+ Group organises social events at regular intervals. They can include a monthly walk; a monthly pub night; a coffee and cake get together; a ten-pin bowling evening; and a free film show. Membership is free and open to all older LGBTs in Thanet.

Men face a number of specific health challenges such as prostate and testicular cancer, impotence and mental health issues, with men dying an average of 4.5 years earlier than women.

Men can find it difficult to open up about mental health issues – in the UK, 75% of all UK suicides are men. However, men can overcome pressures to conform to masculine stereotypes by encouraging them to talk and seek the help they need to prevent such problems.

National support

Men's Health Forum aims to help prevent premature male deaths from preventable causes. There is a wealth of information on men’s health, how to look after yourself and answers to health questions.

The NHS provides a list of common questions about men’s health, with a particular focus on sexual health.

Man V Fat provides diet tips and weight loss motivation for men including information, support and tools men need to improve their health, with a no-nonsense approach.

The NHS offers advice on the ‘male menopause’. Unlike women, men don’t typically experience a sudden drop in hormones but some develop depression, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and other physical and emotional symptoms when they reach their late 40s to early 50s.

Dads Unlimited supports the emotional safety of men and those they care about; supporting the wellbeing of Dads through family separation.

More support can be found under suicide prevention, staying safe, Talking Wellness and work/life balance.

Local support

Man V Fat Football runs football clubs for men with a BMI of 27.50 or over with more than 90% of players losing weight and getting fitter. There are at least 11 clubs running across Kent and Medway.

Kent Sheds provides an open, friendly place where men can meet, chat and undertake activities such as DIY projects or gardening.

North Kent Mind’s Men’s Group offers support for individuals living in the Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and Medway.

In both health and social care, there is a high percentage of female workers, meaning gender equality and support for women is of particular relevance.

National support

Women’s Health Concern provides a confidential, independent service to advise, inform and reassure women about their gynaecological, sexual and post reproductive health.

Miscarriage Association offers support and information to anyone affected by miscarriage, molar pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy.
Health and Care Women Leaders Network is a free network for all women working across health and care. They connect through events, masterclasses, tweet chats and campaigns, and share learning through podcasts, blogs, videos and key reports.

You can find advice and support on the menopause here.