As part of the British Chambers of Commerce’s annual Chamber Business Awards 2022, Herts Inclusive Theatre has won this year’s Equality Trailblazer award, sponsored by the British Business Bank.
The awards, now in its 19th year, is one of the showpieces of the business calendar, highlighting the role of firms in delivering growth and prosperity for the UK and local communities. The Equality Trailblazer award recognises the work of an organisation that champions diversity and promotes inclusion – in their workforce, their customers and any community outreach work.
At its core, Herts Inclusive Theatre, a member of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, aims to improve the well-being of disadvantaged and disabled people, using the arts to build confidence and develop skills in an inclusive space.
Sarah Howard, Chair of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:
“Herts Inclusive Theatre welcomes people of all abilities, from all backgrounds and walks of life. It provides a programme of theatre activities for the disabled and disadvantaged, from age five up. This is a small organisation that packs a punch and promotes diversity and inclusivity throughout all levels. From trustees to staff and volunteers, Herts Inclusive Theatre unites people from a range of socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds.”
Shanika Amarasekara, Chief Impact Officer, British Business Bank said: “This year’s winner of the Equality Trailblazer award, Herts Inclusive Theatre (HIT), has wholeheartedly demonstrated its collaborative, creative and inclusive culture in an organisation where everyone can be their true selves at work.
“The fact that HIT is staffed from within the community of people it serves is a great example of representation and true visibility in an organisation, with participants encouraged to apply for volunteer roles and other positions within the theatre such as workshop assistants, co-ordinators and leadership roles.
“This is further strengthened by their young trustee programme for 18–30-year-olds and its creation of a ‘working inclusively’ manual, given to all staff on induction. This increases that bond with its staff and its participants right from the start.
“The British Business Bank champions diversity within the industry because it’s the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Evidence shows that diversity of background, thought and experience is beneficial for businesses and investors alike. We are always keen to support and empower businesses and entrepreneurs who share these values to prosper and grow. For this reason, we are delighted to be the headline sponsor for the BCC awards.”