Equality and good relations outcomes, impacts and good practice
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
Public Authority Statutory Equality and Good Relations Duties
Annual Progress Report 2020-21
PART A – Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and Equality Scheme
Section 1: Equality and good relations outcomes, impacts and good
In 2020-21, please provide examples of key policy/service delivery developments made by the public authority in this reporting period to better promote equality of opportunity and good relations; and the outcomes and improvements achieved.
Please relate these to the implementation of your statutory equality and good relations duties and Equality Scheme where appropriate.
The reporting period was an unprecedented year impacted by the pandemic. Lockdowns and social distancing affected the way we were able to provide services, promote equality of opportunity and good relations.
As a Council we adapted the normal way we do business and moved to virtual provision of many services, while maintaining on the ground key service provision. This included supporting our community to understand and avail of the technology many were now compelled to use. The period saw an increased emphasis on supporting staff, the community and their well-being.
- Working in partnership with the community, local businesses, governmental departments and funders to support our community and provide aid where needed. This has forged strong links for future endeavours.
- Continuing efforts to ensure active involvement of S75 groups in consultation exercises within Council, for example in relation to technology provision in the borough, economic development, Limavady accessible play park, Portrush recreation grounds.
- Continued inclusive access approach by Council in relation to major events organised by the Council both on the ground and virtually.
- Development of projects within sport and recreation to encourage and facilitate access to Council services and facilities.
- Continued operation of the Council’s Equality Forum with representation from a range of Section 75 groups.
- Continued provision of training and awareness raising programmes for Council staff on a range of Section 75 issues.
- Phased provision of additional inclusive facilities such as changing places toilets.
Please provide examples of outcomes and/or the impact of equality action plans/ measures in 2020-21 (or append the plan with progress/examples identified).
Equality Action Plan – Priority 1
Design, commission and deliver services that are accessible, inclusive and responsive to the needs of people and communities in Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
Improved access to services & Improved digital communications
Action title: Covid Hub (All)
A new Hub was set up to support citizens.
Action title: Increased Promotion of Sign Video (Disability / Inclusion)
During the reporting period the SignVideo provision in Council was further promoted to provide a voice for individuals who due to the pandemic were unable to leave their homes to access services.
Action title: Training on digital meeting platforms (All)
15 groups attended Information sessions on how to use digital meeting platforms to keep connected for older people groups and other isolated groups.
Improved accessibility and inclusive service provision
Action title: Inclusive swimming sessions (Disability / Inclusion / Equality)
Inclusive swimming sessions were provided when the centres were allowed to open.
Action title: Mindful Movement Course for older people (Age / Disability / Inclusion / Equality)
Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre ran a virtual course to the general public and in addition partnered with Cornfeild Nursing Home to deliver a version of the course directly to its residents. This was done by emailing pre-recorded videos of the course and a manual for the nursing home staff to follow.
The course was designed for older people to help them move better, feel better and find creativity through movement. The course had been developed, and led by, the dancers at Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company and delivered in partnership with the Arts Service at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, supported by ACNI Arts and Older People funding.
This course was supported by Arts Council Northern Ireland Arts and Older People funding with a focus on addressing loneliness and isolation through creativity.
Action title: Environmental Community events/projects /activities: LitterSmart (All)
Over 500 participants in LitterSmart initiatives. During this year all contact was made via e-mail or telephone to discuss the litter problems within specific areas. Due to the pandemic the majority of participants were individuals or small family groups who were passionate in caring for the environment and in particular where they live empowering them to take care of their own village and outlying areas. A large amount of discarded litter was collected by participants. Littersmart drew participants from across all walks of life and ability throughout the Borough. Many participants were retired and aged over 65 who lifted litter as part of their daily exercise during lockdowns.
Action title: NappySmart (Women / those with dependents)
25 parents during the reporting period participated in our NappySmart initiative. During this year all contact was made via e-mail or telephone by interested parties. The team engaged with new parents about the benefits of cloth nappies both for baby and the environment thus saving over 25 tonne of waste destined for landfill.
Action title: ClothesSmart (All)
Alternative Angles, which is part of the Triangle Housing Association, is partnered with Council to empty and sort textiles in clothing banks dotted throughout the district. This is a social enterprise activity which aims to support people with learning difficulties, developing and enhancing their individual skills with the aim to future employment.
Action title: FoodSmart (All)
The two Community Fridges within the borough continued to grow making sure food destined for landfill is redistributed. The community fridges are run by volunteers in Cloughmills and Dungiven and are open to everyone with the aim of ensuring that food destined for landfill is not wasted but is used within their local communities. The fridge in Cloughmills diverted almost 7 tonnes of food during this period and this was collected and used by people from different backgrounds. Food was also delivered to approximately 12 households where people were shielding or regarded as vulnerable through disability.
Work took place with the Northern Area Community Network in delivering a virtual food festival engaging over 40 participants on the benefits of healthy eating and prevention of food waste. This also delivered education on the financial and environmental benefits of preventing food waste which might otherwise have been destined for landfill.
Action title: ShareSmart (All)
As part of the ShareSmart initiative Council provides Household Recycling Centres as collection points for unwanted hand tools and sewing machines. This is to support a partnership with Tools for Solidarity who supply this equipment to community based business support projects across Africa. In 2020 a shipment of 15 sewing machines 25 tool kits were donated to self-help projects in Uganda with people of mixed race, age and both physically able and disabled participants.
Action title: Limavady Community Development Initiative (All)
The Limavady Community Development Initiative has been given financial and practical partnering support to work with special needs workers and those with learning difficulties. These employees receive training and work experience in Council supported recycling and reuse projects on an ongoing basis.
Environmental Resource Officers liaising with both LCDI staff and the client group initiated a very successful pilot scheme for the collection and redistribution of second hand toys to families in need at Christmas 2020. A total 359 gifts were donated at Limavady Household Recycling Centre providing toys for 54 low income families.
Action title: Disability access (Disability)
Disability access to “TextSpeak” leaflets on recycling information via the ‘Bins and Recycling’ web page are available for those who are visually impaired.
Action title: Shared Music of Dalriada videos (Age: Young)
A project for young people from different communities to play and record their music traditions. Delivered during September to February the young musicians rehearsed and recorded their contributions digitally and our editor combined all into group performance pieces. 13 participated and by end of March over 800 views on youtube.
Action title: Memories and Movement programme (Age / Disability / Inclusion / Equality)
As part of our Working Towards Dementia Friendly Museum Services we delivered a programme of 4 sessions with 12 residents in St James Court; Ballymoney using reminiscence and movement for those with dementia.
Action title: Community Roadshows (Inclusion / Equality)
During the reporting period 2 Community activity Roadshows for children took place in Cushendall and Castlerock with 19 participants.
Action title: Inclusive Cycling Sessions (Age / Disability / Inclusion)
In September an inclusive cycling session was held at Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre in Ballymoney where participants enjoyed full use of a range of specialist cycling equipment available through the Disability Hub which Council originally developed in conjunction with Disability Sport NI.
Action title: Other Relevant Activities (Age / Disability / Inclusion / Equality)
Energy Efficiency actions:
125 NISEP and energy efficiency referrals were made by the affordable warmth Service.
A total of 3024 enquiries were received by our Energy Efficiency Advisors with 1328 households sign posted to fuel poverty services and 383 households provided with 1-1 support.
Continuation and promotion, in conjunction with Limavady Community Development Initiative (LCDI), of the Causeway Coast and Glens fuel stamp scheme run across the borough targeted at low income households to help combat Fuel Poverty.
745 keep warm packs distributed, to 445 persons aged over 65 years, 150 to families with dependants, 130 to persons with a long term health condition, 65 to those with a disability, 3 to pregnant women and 17 to persons who were homeless.
108 Slow Cooker packs which included a recipe book, ingredients for two of the recipes and a range of useful information advice leaflets on a diverse range of community services including energy efficiency were delivered to people who were forced to shield due to Covid.
9 sew energy efficient groups facilitated by loaning 20 sewing machines to a range of community groups across the Borough many of who made masks and other items to help protect people during Covid.
Home Safety actions:
326 equipment visits were completed in the financial year to those families with a child under 5 years old. An additional 80 clients had an under 5 home safety virtual visit completed within the home in the Limavady and surrounding areas.
Design commission and deliver accessibility, inclusive and responsive services
Action title: Development of Corporate Plan
A new corporate plan was developed and it is anticipated that this will help embed equality and diversity within Council.
Action title: Pandemic Response (All)
During the reporting period Council Leisure Centres were repurposed as distribution centres for food parcels in conjunction with local community groups for delivery where needed in the community.
Action title: Grants provided as a result of the pandemic (All)
During the reporting period 856 grants totalling £1,188,050.07 were provided for:
- Food & Essential Supplies.
- Strand 1 & 2 of the Recovery Revitalisation Programme.
- Food Bank Support Grants.
- Strands 1-5 of the Covid-19 Support Scheme.
- Warm, Well & connected.
Of these, 294 Covid Response grants were awarded to voluntary and community organisations; to support people who were adversely affected by the pandemic, either as a result of food insecurity, financial difficulties or isolation. Older people were among the groups of people receiving support from each of these grants and specifically 19 older peoples groups accessed these grants. People with a disability were another main beneficiary of each of these grants and specifically 10 disability groups accessed grant support. Similarly people from a Black and Minority Ethnic background received support through these funded activity and 4 groups specifically supporting people from a BAME background received a grant award.
35,332 vulnerable people received access to food support through a combination of food parcels, food vouchers, hot meals, seasonal hampers, cooking equipment e.g. slow cookers this included older people, young people and carers.
Action title: Social Inclusion Grant Programme (All / Inclusion)
The Annual Social Inclusion Grant Programme supported community groups to keep connected with and provide activities for people who were socially isolated including men’s sheds, older peoples groups, youth groups, learning disability groups and groups for people with a physical disability – 11 grants for older peoples activities; 5 grants for children and young people’s activities and 3 grants to groups supporting people with a disability.
Action title: Wraparound Support Service (older people, young people, people from BAME communities and people with a caring responsibility)
A pilot Wraparound Support Service provided benefits checks, debt advice, budgeting and money management advice, in collaboration with advice centres, foodbanks, and social supermarkets for people who were experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic including, in order to support them to a position of financial stability.
143 people received support through the 3 month pilot Wraparound Support Project: 100 of these beneficiaries households contained, member(s) under 18; 13 of these beneficiaries whose household contains a member(s) over 65; 66 of these beneficiaries whose household contains a member(s) with additional needs.
A series of peer support and sharing ideas sessions for groups addressing loneliness and isolation – in total 6 groups supporting people with learning and physical disability and mental ill health as well as 11 older peoples groups participated.
Action title: History Book Bags (All: Inclusion / Equality)
During the first lock down and once systems in place, Museum services worked through the local community associations doing food drops to isolated and vulnerable individuals, older people and families. Museum Services provided history goody bags full of local history publications for over 154 families that were delivered by their local community support workers.
Action title: Winter Fireside talks (All: Inclusion)
Museum Services delivered 5 talks during the second lockdown on local history topics to over 100 people via zoom to BCRC BAME group in the Causeway Coast and Glens area. These sessions were recorded and are available online for anyone to view.
Action title: Museum makes (Age / those with dependents)
11 heritage based activities for under 5s and their families were made available on line January to March 2021 to support families during lockdown. The artwork for each activitiy could be printed off at home and assembled using simple and readily available materials around the home.
Action title: Halloween Virtual Events (All: Inclusion)
A 10 day virtual programme from 24th October – 2nd November featuring a number of short videos. Focusing on 10 Halloween storytelling sessions with a ‘Myths and Cultural’ flavour from within the Borough. Also featured foodie haunts, walking tours, children’s crafts.
One of the Halloween Storytelling Sessions recounting the Haunting at Osian’s Grave was subtitled. This particular story had a reach of over 25,300 viewers. This particular video can be viewed at: https://fb.watch/6gb3OOQHJi/
Action title: Virtual Physical Activity Courses (All: Inclusion / Equality)
During the pandemic EBA physical activity courses aimed at improving Health and Social Need relating to Women, Girls and Disability were moved to a virtual platform. During June – September 4425 people were participants in the following virtual courses:
Dander Football/Social Group 90
Health and Nutrition 180
Exercise Referral/Chair/Static 198
Actively Ageing 144
Chair Activity 99
Mat based introduction to Yoga 486
Chair Based Yoga 343
Dance Fit 351
Cardiac Rehab Chair/Static 117
Restorative Yoga 363
Stay Home n Tone 324
Mat based Yoga 377
Action title: Virtual Summer Scheme Camps (Age)
During the pandemic summer Schemes for children took place between 29 June 2020 and 31 July 2020. The virtual camps had 182 participants in the following areas:
Table Tennis 16
Keep fit 34
Summer Scheme 49
Action title: Multisport Camps (Age: Young)
During the reporting period multisport camps took place in:
Ballymoney - JDLC 12
Ballycastle – Quay Road 15
Coleraine – Rugby Avenue 28
Limavady – Scroggy Road 12
With a total of 67 participants.
Action title: Other Relevant Activities (Age / Disability / Inclusion / Equality)
Home Safety actions:
105 home safety virtual visits were completed, and equipment given out to those in the over 65 age group.
3 groups totalling 15 people by WhatsApp attended our permanent Home Safety Education Resource, Hazard House, where they were able to learn of the hidden dangers around the home environment.
Home Safety Officers communicated via zoom and with an Over 55 group in Coleraine. Information was provided in a pack, which included fire safety, health and wellbeing and other leaflets and sent out to approximately 25 to 30 clients around the area.
Equality Action Plan – Priority 2
Raise awareness of equalities issues and tackle prejudices, both internally and externally
Raise awareness internally
Action title: Equality Awareness Programme (Inclusion / Equality)
Throughout the reporting period a planned Equality engagement process commenced improve staff and elected members understanding of Equality and tackle prejudices via articles in the staff news. In addition ad hoc specific emails to managers were distributed when key diversity changes occurred.
Action title: Increased staff awareness regarding health and wellbeing.
During the reporting period weekly articles were included in the staff news to support staff and elected members and increase awareness regarding a variety of health and wellbeing initiatives. This promoted inclusion and equality across all Section 75 groups.
Raise awareness externally
Action title: Good Relations Initiatives (All: Inclusion / Equality)
During the reporting period the following initiatives ran to raise awareness and encourage inclusion:
Area: persons of different religious belief
- An initiative for international day of peace.
- “Community Connections” resource produced & provided to all schools in borough to encourage cross-community activity between pupils.
- 2 Shared Education projects supported for cross-community activity between pupils.
Area: political opinion
- Hear Here initiative exploring Ulster Scots and Irish Culture, Language and Traditions. 5 online sessions completed.
- 4 virtual tours of spaces and places across the borough around theme of identity, culture, good relations and peacebuilding.
- A Cohesive Communities responding to COVID initiative.
- “Hide or Seek?” resource produced & provided to all post-primary schools in the borough to encourage understanding of diverse political opinions.
- 1 grant was awarded for a project on the history of NI & cultural expression.
- 1 heritage project was supported for examining sense of identity & cultural heritage within NI (music & genealogy).
- 1 project was delivered themed on the positive promotion of cultural celebration/ expression in NI context.
Area: age (young and elderly)
- Chinese New Year Project with 16 schools and 820 pupils.
- Tolerance Day project with 9 schools and 270 pupils including 6 online sessions.
- 9 grants were provided to groups for Covid response initiatives within the community.
- 1 collaborative project was supported for joint working between all ages in one village.
- Small worlds café to mark International Women’s Day around theme of unity in diversity.
- A video project highlighting local women’s contribution to community, good relations and peacebuilding for international womens day.
- An online session on the Women and the Art of Peacebuilding to mark 20 years since UNSCR 1325 Women Peace and Security.
Area: racial group
- 3 grants were awarded for cultural diversity & inclusion projects.
- Language books were purchased for volunteer teachers working with Syrian refugees in the borough.
Action title: Civic Leadership – The Mayor’s Office (All: Inclusion / Equality)
In the reporting period the Mayor during his term in office, engaged with a diverse range of individuals and groups covering a number of the protected characteristics such as local volunteers, disability groups, community groups, charity representatives and university students.
The Mayor recorded messages of support and solidarity on specific days such as International Day Against Homophobia.
Increased equality in communication methods both internally and externally
Action title: Accessible communication guide (All: Inclusion / Equality)
An accessible communication guide was provided to all staff via email, the staff news and the staff portal to improve communication to all sections of the community and internally.
Improved equality on-line
Action title: Changes to service videos (All: Inclusion / Equality)
When Leisure centres were re-opened videos were developed to show the new layout and process with regards to keeping safe and maintaining social distancing. This way individuals could clearly see and understand what to expect when using the service. This supported individuals to understand and prepare for the changed circumstances.
Action title: Inclusive meetings (All: Inclusion / Equality)
Care was taken to develop virtual meeting aids to support meeting attendees to have the same stress-free experience as others.
Equality Action Plan – Priority 3
Attract, recruit, retain and progress a diverse range of employees in a culture which celebrates diversity and inclusion
Action title: Staff Training/Education (Inclusion / Equality)
The Policy & Equality Officer attended the seminars below and disseminated the information to all staff via awareness updates:
- Cara-Friend LGBTQ+ Awareness training – Educating the Educator.
- Equality Commission Introduction to Equality Seminar.
- Promoting equality in employment for disabled people.
- Hearing loss – overcoming communication barriers during Covid-19.
- Equality Commission Annual Employer equality update.
- Legal Island Diversity and Inclusion Discussion Forum meetings.
Action title: Additional Paid leave (All: Inclusion / Equality)
During the reporting period Council offered 5 days paid leave for employees with caring responsibilities as a result of the pandemic. 55 people availed of this leave during the reporting period – 44 Females and 11 Males.
Action title: Awareness information (All: Inclusion / Equality)
The staff news sheet included at least one article per month in its Equality Update section. All Section 75 groups were included which supported staff understanding of various topics, conditions and individuals needs both in work and everyday settings.
Action title: Supportive emails and tips (All: Inclusion / Equality)
Staff mental well-being and inclusiveness is encouraged via tips, emails and lunch-time virtual exercise classes for all abilities. Information is provided for those with caring responsibilities, regarding mental health and supportive initiatives linked to encouraging and supporting dignity and respect at work. During this period a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Policy was developed to support all members of staff.
Equality Action Plan – Priority 4
Provide a working environment where employees are treated with fairness, dignity and respect
Action title: Corporate Training
In May 2020 all staff were trained virtually on sickness absence which included menopause.
Recruitment and Selection training which covered bias in recruitment was undertaken in June 2020.
Virtual Equality and Diversity training commenced at the start of March 2021 and will continue into the next reporting period.
Has the application of the Equality Scheme commitments resulted in any changes to policy, practice, procedures and/or service delivery areas during the 2020-21 reporting period? (tick one box only)
☒ Yes ☐ No (go to Q.4) ☐ Not applicable (go to Q.4)
Please provide any details and examples:
On-going review of screening practices with roll out of a programme of training on carrying out screening exercises. 2 new policies were developed and rolled out for all staff:
- Domestic Violence and Abuse Policy for all genders.
- Flexible Working Policy for all which will support individual’s linked to various Section 75 groups.
With regard to the change(s) made to policies, practices or procedures and/or service delivery areas, what difference was made, or will be made, for individuals, i.e. the impact on those according to Section 75 category?
Please provide any details and examples:
Improved awareness of screening requirements and abilities to conduct screening exercises.
Improved awareness of individual’s needs and actions defined to improve virtual service provision and accessibility for citizens.
What aspect of the Equality Scheme prompted or led to the change(s)? (tick all that apply)
☒ As a result of the organisation’s screening of a policy
(please give details):
Equality screenings supported the improvement of services to meet the needs of individuals linked to various Section 75 groupings.
☐ As a result of what was identified through the EQIA and consultation
exercise (please give details):
☐ As a result of analysis from monitoring the impact (please give details):
☒ As a result of changes to access to information and services
(please specify and give details):
The Covid support Hub acted as a one stop point of contact for individuals with concerns or issues resulting from the pandemic
☐ Other (please specify and give details):