WREN Network: Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing

The BAME Network at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH) is referred to as WREN (Working for Racial Equality)

Aim of the Network

Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our culture at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing. We’re committed to continue building on our focus on investing in ethnicity. With the support of our established BAME staff network group; WREN, we aim to understand the lived experience of BAME employees which helps to inform a targeted Diversity and Inclusion action plan that improves attraction, retention, engagement and career progression of our BAME talent. 

We do this by:

  • Providing a safe, supportive and trusted space for colleagues, offering peer support and networking opportunities.
  • Work with and support MTVH to meets its obligations under the Equalities Act 2010 and its ranking on associated indices and employer league tables to become a leading inclusive employer (includes policy review and development).
  • Through active dialogue and communications suggest solutions to address barriers or improve inclusivity.
  • Work with other internal staff network groups to ensure intersectionality across groups is addressed.
  • Maintain links with external networks and lobby groups to share information and best.
  • Practice and raise the profile of MTVH as a diverse employer.

What current initiatives is your network doing to represent and support your BAME colleagues?

  1. Black on Board initiative a training programme and a community aiming to improve the racial diversity on Governing Boards of organisations in all sectors across the UK.
  2. Leadership 2025  – A 9 month leadership development programme, in partnership with Roffey Park, available exclusively to senior leaders from BME backgrounds working in the housing sector. 
  3. Run leadership workshops and breakfast briefings hosted by Investing in Ethnicity
  4. We are also signed on the G15 Accelerate Programme a newly launched Chartered Management Institute (CMI) leadership development programme that’s launching for BAME managers who want to accelerate their career trajectory.

Who are the Co-Chairs of your WREN Network?

Violet Pugh

Metropolitan Thames Valley
Digital Marketing Manager

Is there an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion strategy in place for your organisation?

The centre of our People Powered Living values, is people first, people always. We recognise this is the right thing to do, as is our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We have a EDI strategy in place that is currently going through a review to ensure the future success of our organisation is directly correlated with the level of diversity and inclusion of our colleagues and that there is a seamless robust thread that runs throughout our organisational culture.

Tell us a little bit about what your organisation is currently doing outside of your network to meet the ED&I strategy?

As part of the G15 housing associations, we have signed a pledge to encourage more diversity in the boardroom and at senior level. Our Chief Executive is spear heading this and playing an active role on behalf of our organisation.

The aim of the pledge is:

  1.  Targeted recruitment initiatives to attract talented BAME applicants and the removal of unconscious bias from the recruitment process
  2. Publication of diversity data from each involved organisation and the launching of a G15 Management and Leadership Academy that will invest in and support existing staff.
  3. A ‘talent roster’ for BAME colleagues will also be developed, accompanied by a plan for the career progression of each involved individual, and the success of BAME individuals at each organisation will be recognised annually.
  4. Each signatory will also seek out a ‘reverse mentor’, who will help them to develop their own understanding of the disadvantages faced by minorities, and ultimately allow them to remove these disadvantages in their organisations.

We’re also members of Investing in Ethnicity – It’s cross sector and aims to help organisations drive change using innovative best practice. Our membership gives us access to resource toolkits for our staff, Senior leaders & allies breakfasts and workshop sessions.

How do colleagues within your organisation sign up to become members of your BAME network?

They can join by contacting the co-chair Violet.pugh@mtvh.co.uk. We also have a group page set up on our intranet – Workplace by Facebook, and new members can express their interest.