Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Imagine

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Imagine

We have always been committed to the values of equality and social justice at Imagine; it’s central to our core principles of independence and empowerment. But what we do must match what we say, and we believe that we could do better. To that end we have been reviewing and refreshing our approach to equality and inclusion, and we have developed a new strategy with a three year action plan. You can view both the summary and full document of the Equality and Inclusion Strategy here on the ‘I’ drive.

In September last year, all staff attended an Equality and Inclusion training and development programme designed specifically for Imagine. Elaine Bowes – who designed and delivered this programme – is continuing to work with us on our improvement plans. She is chairing the Equality and Inclusion Task and Finish Group, which we have established to focus on delivering the commitments of the strategy. This group comprises people from all areas of the business, and they have all commenced work on their specific local improvement programmes.

We are currently reviewing – through Equality Analysis (or Impact Assessments) – key areas of policy and practice, and we have obtained the DWP Two Ticks Disability Symbol Award. This means that we are committed to deliver on five objectives:

  • To interview all disabled job applicants who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and consider them on their abilities
  • To ensure that there is a mechanism in place to discuss at any time, but at least once a year, with disabled employees that can be done to make sure they can develop and use their abilities
  • To make every effort when employees become disabled to make sure they stay in their employment
  • To take action to ensure that all employees develop the appropriate level of disability awareness needed to make the commitments work
  • Each year to review the five commitments and what else has been achieved, to plan ways to improve on them and to let employees and the Jobcentre Plus know about the progress and future plans.

We have also signed the Mindful Employer Charter – which means that amongst a number of things we will

  • show a positive and enabling attitude to employees and job applicants with mental health issues;
  • Make it clear in any recruitment or occupational health check that people who have experienced mental health issues will not be discriminated against and that disclosure of a mental health problem will enable both employee and employer to assess and provide the right level of support or adjustment;
  • Provide non-judgemental and proactive support to individual staff who experience mental health issues.

Both the Two Ticks Award and the Mindful Employer Charter are especially important to us as they herald our commitment to be a positive and proactive employer with respect to disabilities and in particular mental health disabilities.   Over the coming months you will see further evidence of these commitments. In the meantime we are keen to hear your views on our Equality and Inclusion Strategy, and we will keep you posted on developments.

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#Timetotalk in Liverpool

Mental health service users taking part in time to talk

Mental health service users taking part in time to talk

UpBeat Event to kick Blue Monday

Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust (LCH) is partnering with a range of local mental health support agencies, including Imagine, to promote positive mental wellbeing and help people to beat ‘Blue Monday’ this year.

‘Blue Monday’ takes place annually on the third Monday of January (Monday 26th January), and is widely said to be the most depressing day of the year.

The Trust is partnering with a range of community partners including the Richmond Fellowship, Imagine Mental Health, CHATs, and Big Love Sista to co-host ‘UpBeat 2’ – a free music and arts day for anyone living with or recovering from mental health problems.

The event will be hosted at the Zanzibar Club on Liverpool’s Seel Street and will offer a range of free arts workshop sessions running throughout the day – including drama, singing, music and poetry.

In addition, many of the event participants will be taking part in a performance evening at the venue from 7.30pm which will showcase some of the skills they have learned during the day.

Sessions and activities will be running at the following times during the day:

• 11:00am: Ice Breaking Sessions from Open the Door Theatre Company: Artists & Mentors

• 12:00pm: Group Sessions Start: Songwriting / Comedy / Poetry

• 3:00pm: Sound Checks and Rehearsals for Evening Event. Food will also be served.

• 6:00pm: Therapies to aid relaxation (pre-performance)

• 7:30pm: Doors open for evening performance

Rod Leung, Community Links Advisor for Richmond Fellowship explains:

“At Richmond Fellowship, we specialise in supporting people with mental health problems to recover, rehabilitate and to get the most out of life – and that’s exactly what this event is all about.”

“Being creative and developing new skills can be a fantastic way to build self-esteem and support positive mental wellbeing amongst individuals recovering from mental health problems, so we would encourage anyone who feels they might benefit from taking part in one of these workshops to get in touch with us and to apply to take part.”

Paul White, Mental Health Lead for Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust adds,

“Blue Monday is said to be the day that most of us feel at our lowest ebb, thanks to long, dark winter days, and due to people feeling financially challenged and demotivated after the Christmas season.

“All of these factors can have a very real impact on our mood, but this event is all about bucking that trend by being upbeat and reminding people that 26th January doesn’t have to be the most depressing day of the year for anyone.”

To find out more about taking part in this event, please contact Charlotte Davies from Imagine Mental Health by emailing: cdavies@imaginementalhealth.org.uk

The team behind the event is also keen to remind everyone of the five ways to wellbeing – which are 5 simple things that anyone can do to help them beat Blue Monday.

They are:

• Connect with others – Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing, and even small changes make a difference.
So why not speak to someone face to face instead of sending an email, phone a family member who you haven’t spoken to in a while, or look up an old friend?

• Be active – Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age group, and it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good either.
So why not go for a walk with colleagues in your lunchbreak, get off the bus one stop earlier, or organise a kick-about or cycle ride in your local park?

• Take notice – Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your wellbeing, and savouring ‘the moment’ can have a reaffirming affect.
Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you, or visit somewhere new.

• Learn – Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.
So why not learn something new? Sign up for a class, read a book, take up a new hobby or research something you’ve always wondered about.

• Give – Research has shown that those who have a greater interest in helping others are more likely to report being happy themselves.
So why not try volunteering in your local community, or do a random act of kindness for someone else?


Service users give their views to the CCG

concordatImagine Service Users have been  involved in giving the CCG their views about the way services in Merseyside operate. In so doing they  demonstrated with enthusiasm why service user involvement in paramount to getting services right. Service users worked with the strategic planning team to look at their plans and give feedback on what they felt must to be included or amended into action.

When the strategy team informed  those attending that there would be only one service user on the action planning committee to represent the views of all, service users spoke out and demanded that there should be a fairer representation.  Service users felt that as many users as possible needed to be involved to get a clearer picture of what is needed. The strategic action planning team were invited to Imagine’s forums to see how we handled user feedback and the funding implications of doing it properly.


Service users felt that their voices had been heard and that they had made a difference.

Quotes from Imagine service users at the end of the event:

“I really enjoyed today, I feel like I’ve done something worth doing”

“I’d definitely like to do this again”

New Imagine base in Redbridge

RedbridgeOn a recent visit to Imagine’s service in Redbridge Imagine CEO Iain Brodie Browne was shown around by staff and users.

Iain is pictured here with Imagine Area Manager, Navroop Kullar, and Edward from the Redbridge team outside the new base.

Imagine remain impartcial in this battle

untitled (2)Imagine is a key provider of mental health services in both Southport and Redbridge and I would guess that there are precious few other links between the two towns. The FA Cup changed all that on Saturday when the towns’ two football teams were drawn against each other. Dagenham play in Division Two of the Football League and were odds on favourites to defeat non league Southport who play in the Premier League of the Conference.

The result was a nil all draw and the two sides meet again on 18th November at Haig Ave, Southport. The prize is a converted position in the next round of the FA Cup and the dream of an appearance on Match of the Day-not to mention a considerable boost the winners financial position. Reports on the match can be found on both clubs websites.

Southport FC

Dagenham and Redbridge FC

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A blogging opportunity for people with mental health issues

A new blogging project ‘A Day in the Life’ is asking people living with mental health difficulties to share their experiences of what makes their mental health better and worse. It is designed to provide an insight and help inform the development of policies and projects which better meet their needs.

A Day in the Life

A snapshot of the lives, and wellbeing of people who experience mental health difficulties in England

A Day in the Life is a year-long project to collect the everyday experiences of people who experience mental health difficulties in England. If you experience a mental health difficulty sign up to share with the world what your day was like on four calendar dates across the length of the project.

You don’t have to use your real name and you can be as anonymous as you want to be.

The everyday life of people with mental health difficulties has tended to remain hidden.  Together we can change that by sharing what makes life better and what makes life worse.  The first day in the life will be Friday 7th November 2014.

If you’re ready, sign up to share your days. Find out more about how the project works and what to expect by reading the how-to guide.