Inclusion, it’s in our name, it is what drives us and what we are passionate about. We see it as an important aspect of building a diverse and thriving community, and it’s something that everyone can work towards.
So what is inclusion, and how can everyone be inclusive in their everyday lives?
What is Inclusion?
Inclusion is about creating a sense of belonging for everyone. It means recognising and valuing the diversity of individuals and groups, and ensuring that everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources. Inclusion is not just about physical access, but also about creating a culture of respect and understanding.
For Sharon Morgan, the Individualised Services Manager for the North Hub, inclusion is “The act of involving folks, who have historically been marginalised or excluded, in any group, activity or place of their choosing so that they feel a genuine sense of belonging.”
Simply put, inclusion is about ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected as an individual.
Integration vs. Inclusion
Inclusion can often be confused with integration. Integration means the physical presence of individuals or groups into a larger society or organisation, while maintaining their distinct cultural or social identities. This could look like specialised classes or segregated group activities away from the main group in a school or sporting group or workplace, for example.
Inclusion, on the other hand, sees each person as unique and involves implementing changes that benefit the whole community, and creating a new environment that is welcoming and supportive of all individuals, regardless of their perceived differences.
Inclusion vs. Diversity
Diversity and inclusion are often paired together, and while both are extremely important and interlinked, they are different and shouldn’t be seen as interchangeable.
Diversity simply means variety (for instance a variety of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, lived experiences and neurological make-up), while inclusion refers to the acceptance and value surrounding diversity. An inclusive community doesn’t just tolerate diversity, but welcomes and celebrates these differences.
Inclusion is important because it promotes diversity and helps to break down barriers between different groups. It also helps to create a sense of community and belonging, which can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being.
Five ways to be inclusive
Being inclusive is about taking action to create an environment where everyone feels valued and supported. Here are some ways that you can be inclusive:
- Educate yourself: Educate yourself about different cultures, backgrounds, and abilities. This can help you to understand and appreciate the diversity of individuals and groups.
- Listen and learn: Listen to the experiences and perspectives of others, and be open to learning from them. This can help you to gain a better understanding of different perspectives and experiences.
- Be respectful: Treat everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of their background or abilities. This means avoiding stereotypes and assumptions, and being mindful of your language and behaviour.
- Create an inclusive environment: Take steps to create an inclusive environment, such as providing accessible facilities and resources, and promoting diversity and inclusion in your policies and practices.
- Challenge discrimination: Speak out against discrimination and prejudice, and challenge negative attitudes and behaviours when you see them.
We can all take small steps in our everyday life to be more inclusive. For Sharon, this comes by being more inclusive with her use of language. “I am very mindful of the language I use. I try where possible to choose my words so as not to offend. We never know how the person receiving our words identifies or is feeling.”
It is not always easy to question your own patterns and change behaviours. But any step you can take to be more inclusive – whether as an individual or in your place of work, school, sporting or social club – is a huge step toward creating a more welcoming community for all.
We work alongside people, assisting them towards their goals in the community, at home and work to make sure everyone feels independent and included. Get in touch today.Access support