Screenshot 2021-05-11 124839.png

In line with our trust values we wish to develop and promote a culture of dignity, respect and inclusion for all.  To support this we have in place a number of different staff networks that meet regularly to support, promote and advance equality in the workplace for those that have dyslexia and dyspraxia, that identify as black and Asian minority ethnic (BAME), are female, or Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and sexual minorities (LGBTi).  Each network has a board level sponsor.  For general information, please contact our Equality and Inclusion Manager.

Purpose: provide a supportive space for women to share experiences; work collectively towards improving the trust policies and practices and implement change.

Membership: any staff member who identifies as female is a de facto member of the network. We very much welcome membership and involvement of staff from all areas, disciplines and grades, particularly from those women who feel their voices are not heard.

Meetings: bi-monthly.
"Come along, share your experience of working in the trust, learn what issues have been raised so far and throw in your ideas for the #Me2 new decade. All women welcome."

Current Chair: Lesley Cradduck  Deputy Chair: vacant

Contact: Margaret.brown2@merseycare.nhs.uk  Telephone: 01254 821239

Sponsor: Louise Edwards, Director of Strategy

International Women’s Day 2021 event is a success

Our Women’s Staff Network hosted itsCupcakes on table.jpg first virtual International Women’s Day conference on Wednesday 10 March which was a great success, thanks to a range of interesting speakers, presentations and workshops. 

Trust Chairman Beatrice Fraenkel set the tone for a morning of great personal stories that also included accounts from Gemma Bodinetz, out-going Artistic Director of Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse;  Amanda Oates, Mersey Care’s Executive Director of Workforce; Karen Jobson, Chaplain in Secure and Specialist LD Division and Pauline Rowe the Trust’s Poet in Residence. 

Network member and Equality and Diversity Lead in Secure and Specialist Learing Disability Margaret Brown said: “They spoke with such candour which moved, entertained and inspired everyone; they held us all enthralled and the feedback has been tremendous.

“The afternoon followed with workshops on a range of topics that were designed to be informative, supportive and fun.  Our thanks to our colleagues in Staff Support, Health and Wellbeing, Psychology, Safeguarding, Local Solutions, Citizen’s Advice and ‘Laughtercise’ who all so generously gave of their time, talent and skills to support the day.

“Our thanks go to all those who took time to join us in ‘Women Supporting Women’ events across the Trust especially all those who worked so hard and so enthusiastically to create a day of celebration for our service users.”

Celebrations to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March were also held across at a number of inpatient settings – there was the ritual-raising of the International Women’s Day flag at both Whalley and Maghull sites, plus creative, art projects and afternoon teas on wards in Whalley, Rowan View and Liverpool.  These pictures were taken by staff of some of the celebratory creations on Eden Ward at Rowan View.

Throughout the week the Network has been encouraging staff to recognise female colleagues through the Mersey Care yourThankYou acknowledgement system on the staff intranet home page (bottom right hand side) via our intranet using the value ‘Support’ to show your support for women colleagues. 

Survey

We feel we should take time to review the network activities and make sure that we are all getting the best from it. We have put together a really short survey to get your views on how you think we should be developing the network to meet everyone’s needs. Can we encourage you to take the time to complete this and we will share the results with you at the February meeting: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/8W37QQP

Menopause Cafe

There’s a valuable listen and a friendly chat from our own Julie Roberts and Liz Stephens in a new video for staff which is available on our private YouTube channel here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNT4c8BRG3o 

Look out for dates for future staff café events on the calendar on the front page of yourSpace. 

This new resource follows our promotion of Menopause Awareness Day last year. You can learn more on this external website: https://www.imsociety.org/world_menopause_day.php?year=2020​

Domestic Abuse during Covid-19

The group have prepared this information flyer with advice for women about domestic abuse helplines:
Women's Forum Flyer during COVID-19 .pdf

The Network is open to all women across the trust

The network aims to provide a voice for the things that are important to female staff and through collective action, to highlight the significance and value of having a gender equal working environment that recognizes and promotes women’s issues.

The women’s network launched in December 2018

An open invitation was shared across the trust for the network’s inaugural meeting, which took place in the Indigo building at Maghull Health Park. At the inaugural meeting we heard from Amanda Oates, Executive Director of Workforce, who gave assurances about her commitment to the network and shared some of her own experiences as a carer and working woman.

We discussed different work experiences; what we expect and hope to achieve with the network. We decided to concentrate, for the present time, on five main issues:

  • Menopause and its effects
  • Sanitary Provision and Period Poverty
  • Carers and Work Life Balance
  • New Mothers Returning to Work
  • Gender Pay Gap.

We have made good progress on all these issues thanks to the trust that is genuinely interested in listening to the voice of the staff networks.  At the same time, the Network was discussing menopause the Health and Wellbeing team had been exploring ways of supporting women experiencing menopause.  This is work that they have since rolled out across the trust and though this is necessarily paused, there are plans to continue this work once the situation changes.

Actions on carers, returning mothers and the gender pay gap have now been incorporated into the 2020 Equality Action Plan available on Share point.

woman holding sanitary product

Sanitary Provision and Period Poverty 

It quickly became clear that simply accessing sanitary products, much less affording them, was a problem.  After much thought and investigation into a feasible, affordable solution, we took up the suggestion of ‘Comfort Boxes.’ The network is pleased to report that it successfully won agreement from the Trust to fund the purchase of the comfort boxes. Other women who volunteer to donate sanitary products will stock the boxes.

The boxes would contain essential items like sanitary pads and tampons, but could also include deodorant, panty liners or other appropriate items and are free to anyone who needs them. We are asking for teams or groups to volunteer to "host" a box in their work area and for staff to donate sanitary products which will be freely available for anyone who needs to use them when on duty.

People can pledge to donate items and to help keep the boxes stocked. If you want to get involved email Margaret Brown for details Margaret.brown2@merseycare.nhs.uk

The distribution of the boxes was delayed because of the pandemic but many women have now signed up. If anyone is aware that there are staff experiencing hardship please do contact Margaret or Lesley, in confidence, and let us know.

We are also interested in hearing women’s experiences of what impact the pandemic is having on their lives, so please do let us know.

Future Network Meetings

The network is for everyone and we are interested in getting views from women of all ages, cultures and experiences about what you think is important. We recognise that it may be difficult for ward based colleagues to attend the network and are looking at possible options to link to wider groups across our sites. If you are unable to attend meetings, we are still happy to receive suggestions by email. 

An equal world is an enabled world