Bury colleagues celebrate black heritage and culture

26 October 2022

‘Time for change: Actions not words’. That was the theme of the first NCA Black History Month (BHM) Conference recently as colleagues gathered at Fairfield Education Centre Auditorium in Bury to celebrate black heritage and culture.

Alongside dynamic and inspirational speakers from various disciplines, some local and some travelling from abroad, there were displays, discussions and a feast of African and Caribbean food.

Speakers included Olayinka Aremu, clinical nurse manager from Ireland, who gave an inspiring and thought-provoking presentation on ‘cultural shock’ and challenges faced by internationally educated health professionals whilst trying to integrate into the British culture.

Pamela Odukoya, a careers coach, talked about the KA-RACE framework for making a personal impact whilst still upholding our values:

  • Know thy self
  • Act like a leader
  • Reflect on feedback
  • Adopt creative collaboration
  • Communicate with confidence
  • Embrace lifelong learning

Dr Linda Sulle, GP and clinical lead for Rochdale Care Organisation, highlighted the importance of creating a positive impact in improving the work environment.  “It’s not what you do occasionally”, Dr Sulle remarked, “it’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference”.

Mohammed Tariq, senior clinical coder and BAME Lead for Rochdale Care Organisation, presented on the value of research and community engagement to better understand the healthcare needs of the local communities in Rochdale. Tariq’s aim is to develop a strong patient and public involvement and engagement network to ultimately reduce health inequality across the NCA footprint. In organising community events, he said ‘’the communities are not hard to reach, but sometimes WE are the ones that are hard to engage with.’’

Jenna Saide, project manager from Bury Council, gave an insight into the council’s Mutual Mentoring Programme, which operates across Public Service Organisations. She also spoke of the need for an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to establish why people might want to work for Public Service Organisations if they have a disability and/or if they are from an ethnic minority, which she said was an opportunity for senior leaders to implement positive change within their teams.

Attendees enjoyed a lively and uplifting panel discussion about inclusivity and integration, with the day’s theme of action not words coming through very strongly.

BAME network chair Agnes Leopold-James spoke afterwards of a consensus from the event for “continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is recognised, represented, and celebrated all year round not just in the month of October.”

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