Parkinson’s UK launches its first equality, diversity and inclusion strategy

Parkinson’s UK has launched its first equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) strategy as it looks to ensure it can “better represent its community”.

The strategy pledges to engage people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and ensure there is racial equality in its support and research.

The charity also wants to ensure there is greater diversity among its staff and volunteers, in particular improving ethnic representation and of people with Parkinson’s and other disabilities.

It found that just 4.7% of people who engaged with the charity identify as ethnic minority, despite 7.6% of those with Parkinson’s from such backgrounds.

It found that a fifth of jobs appointments are made to people from ethnic minority backgrounds. People from minority ethnic backgrounds make up 8% of its leadership roles.

But the charity concedes it is “lacking data and insight for our volunteer base”. It currently only has data on a quarter of its volunteers. Among this group the majority (91%) are white, and are “predominantly “over 65 years old and female”.

And while a fifth of the working UK population has a disability, the proportion dips to less than one in ten (9%) among Parkinson’s employees.

By 2026 the charity is pledging to ensure at least 14% of its workforce is from minority ethnic backgrounds and it aims to have data on half of its volunteers.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but this strategy is our commitment to helping everyone affected by Parkinson’s get equal access to the opportunities and support they need,” said Parkinson’s UK chief executive Caroline Rassell.

“Within the strategy are clear aims and timelines so that, as a charity, we can be held accountable by our colleagues, peers and community. All of us have a role to play in this vital work.”

She added: “Parkinson’s doesn’t discriminate, but someone’s experience with the condition is often affected by factors outside of their control. Where they live, their income, race, ethnicity and gender all affect the support and services they can access. That shouldn’t be the case. That’s why we’ve created our first EDI strategy to prioritise and meet the needs of the whole Parkinson’s community.

“Although we recognise there are many ways our community faces inequality and exclusion, these three ambitions are a solid foundation to build on and where we can make a lasting impact.

“We are determined to reach more people with Parkinson’s and continue our mission to find better treatments for everyone.”

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