Our future vision is that diversity and inclusion plays a full, integrated part in the way we think, plan and act from this point onwards.
We know that there are some communities of need that we simply don’t access as well as others; and while a more diverse volunteer group will undoubtedly be a major step forward in strengthening our ability to support individuals, we also need to ensure that our service is known and valued by all those who may use it. Action is already underway across our network and with partners to develop a culture of diversity and inclusion, and to ensure that a comprehensive range of resources or training are available for staff and volunteers. We are also working hard to establish a complete picture of what diversity looks like in our branches, building on the findings of a pilot project which took place in Wales.
This role is a really powerful opportunity to ask some fundamental questions of Samaritans. If we were a transformed organisation, how would we behave? How would others perceive us? What is the critical path to Samaritans serving more people, better? What skills do we need to introduce or develop to ensure that we remain relevant to a new set of challenges? How can we make such a major change, while still retaining our strong and shared unity of purpose?
You’ll be a thoughtful, inspiring and highly experienced culture change leader, with a nuanced grasp of how to work in a range of different settings and with a diverse range of colleagues. Contact with Samaritans may vary in frequency across the organisation, from working with us every day to just one shift a month; so you’ll understand how to engage all audiences positively and appreciatively, make the case for a reframed future, and then embed new behaviours, processes and expectations that are universally supported and adopted.
There are significant positives: for one, coaching is a familiar and fundamental aspect of being part of Samaritans, and a shared desire for change is tangible, so you will be working with the grain of a shared vision. Moreover, we are an organisation where change can happen quickly and transformatively; we are a small, relatively flat team, with a notable lack of hierarchy or self-importance, and the distance between intention and impact can be very short indeed. Our work is unique, and we just want to be better at it – as an organisation, we have made each other a promise of change, and we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to keep that promise.