Thu 28 / 01 / 21
Is your business really reaching everyone?
Diversity and Ability, who represent Brighton Chamber at the city-wide Equality and Inclusion Partnership (EQUIP) share the latest partnership developments and how they affect our businesses, plus some top tips from EQUIP on inclusion.
By Ellie Thompson of Diversity and Ability
In a time of such uncertainty for Brighton’s businesses, it’s vital that our voices are heard in city-wide discussions on how we survive. That’s why we at Diversity and Ability were proud to once again represent Brighton Chamber at the latest Equality and Inclusion Partnership (EQUIP) meeting.
We were joined by representatives from the Council, charities, community interest groups, the health sector and emergency services to address the biggest challenges in equalities and inclusion. We discussed topics as diverse as the communities we represent, from the Council’s progression towards becoming an anti-racist city, to strategising on how to support and repair communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
One of the main focuses was how to ensure we as a city are being inclusive to all, with a particular focus on the exclusionary barriers faced by members of the d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities.
We were joined by Darren Jenson, CEO of Surdi, who highlighted that one of the biggest barriers faced by individuals such as himself is that his disability is a hidden one. Having a hidden disability means constantly facing assumptions that everything is accessible for you, which may be far from the case.
As businesses, we don’t just have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure we’re making ourselves accessible to all. As Emma Turner, Partnerships and Outreach Lead at Diversity and Ability says: “Knowing that an estimated 19% of working age adults are disabled, there’s a clear business case for making the proactive, and often small, changes that make a big impact.”
While accessibility considerations may be different in our remote-based lives, they are still just as important. So, with that in mind, we have put together three quick and easy steps you can take to make sure you’re being inclusive across your communications.
1. Caption and interpret your events and meetings
Prioritise using virtual meeting platforms with in-built live captioning, such as Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. For bigger events, consider employing a live transcription service. And always ask attendees if they have any access needs such as breaks, BSL interpreting, or visual descriptions.
2. Make your emails and documents legible
For written content, be sure to use a font size of 12pt or larger, and use a font that is sans serif like Arial or Calibri. Always use high contrast colour schemes to make sure your content is visually accessible for neurodiverse people!
3. Add image descriptions to social media content
Make sure that your business’ social media content reaches a diverse audience by adding ‘alt-text’ to any images you post. This means adding a description of the image that can be read aloud by screen reader software, so people who are blind, vision impaired, or who process images differently can access your content. We’ve put together a handy guide for how to add alt-text to your social media posts, so check it out for everything you need to know!
Of course, accessibility is never one-size-fits-all, and there are more steps to take in order to become a truly accessible and inclusive business, but these simple shifts really do make a difference. The thing to remember above all, is to not assume that everyone can access your business in the same way.
Always just ask ‘What can I do to make this accessible for you?’ and you’re on the right track.
Got something to share with the EQUIP team?
The next quarterly meeting will be held on Wednesday 21 April. We’re here to represent you, so if there’s anything you wish to raise to the Equality and Inclusion partnership please get in touch with us. You can do so by emailing us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!
Diversity and Ability is an award-winning disabled-led social enterprise working to create inclusive cultures where diversity is valued and people can thrive.
We support individuals, organisations and social-justice projects to embrace and advocate for diversity through 1:1 support, training and workshops that are supportive and inclusive for all. Find out more about how we could work with you at diversityandability.com.
If you want to contribute to the Chamber blog, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org