It’s National Inclusion Week! As part of recognising this important event in the calendar, British Equestrian, in conjunction with our 19 member bodies, is delighted to share a progress update six months on from the release of our #HorsesForAll research response document and commitments.
The #HorsesForAll research project was a groundbreaking investigation into underrepresented communities and their engagement with equestrian sports and activities, conducted by AKD Solutions. A huge amount of data was collected and analysed over a period of 10 months, before AKD presented us with a comprehensive report, which included 11 recommendations for us to take forward. We subsequently released a collective summary and response document which contained a number of commitments over short-, medium- and long-term time frames. Six months on from publication, we have made progress with number of these milestones.
The headline action was the creation of an overarching Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy for British Equestrian, which drives our EDI aspirations as an organisation and also for the wider equestrian industry, particularly our member bodies. A cross-federation EDI working group has progressed the outline strategy with clear objectives and commitments, which is currently under review before we progress to the next stages for publication before the end of this year.
This strategy will act as a ‘blueprint’ for our member bodies to either adapt in line with their objectives or use as a basis for their own EDI strategy.
Concurrently, work has been on going on our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), which meets the requirements of UK Sport and Sport England. We’re in the process of preparing the framework and expect completion and implementation early next year.
We’re currently revising our member rulebook, which gives us the opportunity to incorporate elements of #HorsesForAll’s recommendations around conduct and behaviours, alongside other integrity matters. In tandem, we’re working on a policy to align our actions with organisational values that all member bodies will follow – this will bring about consistency across the federation.
The strategy will help to shape culture and values, and we’re backing that up with an education programme. This is being rolled out at the leadership level – Board members and Chief Executives – across British Equestrian and our member bodies, and will subsequently be delivered to the management team and wider federation staff in October and November. Armed with knowledge, this 18-month education programme will ensure those in a position of influence lead by example and help to foster an inclusive organisation.
Over the summer months, we’ve been working with a number of initiatives linked to the Sport England Together Fund to progress our commitment to support alternative structures, diverse spaces and urban equestrian centres. There has been financial support with over £100,000 distributed so far, as well as guidance on organisational development, governance and fundraising support. Working with The Pony Club and British Horse Society, we have also forged strong relationships with a number of wider faith and youth sporting groups to promote equestrianism amongst ethnic groups, including Girlguiding, Sunnah Sports, Sikh communities, Club Ekta, Nature Warriors and the Bahja Initiative.
#HorsesForAll identified urban equestrian centres as a key target for focus and we’ll be releasing the findings of a research project conducted with Sport & Recreation Alliance later this week. The project examined the operating models of current centres to find out their local impact, their challenges and what makes them successful, to then share as best practice to help other centres and clubs in untapped areas.
Data has been a huge focus with our member bodies, and diversity and inclusion metrics have been central to the changes we’ve proposed to the data collection process. This is part of a more harmonised and standardised approach so we can all collaborate, but also will ensure that our diversity initiatives are based on solid and meaningful data. We are working toward adopting the new metrics with member bodies in early 2024.
The above is just a snapshot of the achievements, and the full six-month update can be read here.
“The progress by the teams in a relatively short space of time are certainly testament to our collective commitment to tackling inequalities in our industry,” said Jim Eyre, British Equestrian Chief Executive.
“While there have been some tangible short-term outcomes, what’s most rewarding is the amount of foundation work that has been either completed or commenced, which will ensure the required long-term change. We are under no illusions as to how long this will take, but the progress in six months is hugely encouraging and has set us up well to ensure horses really are for all,” he concluded.