News & Events Let's Talk: equality, diversity, inclusion & alopecia As a small national charity covering all corners of the UK, Alopecia UK is beginning the journey of reviewing and improving our approach to equality, diversity, equity and inclusion. And like all important things, it starts with an open conversation. We are committed to supporting anyone, with any type of alopecia and this is at the very centre of our charity values. At the moment, we know there are people from different backgrounds, groups and communities who we are not reaching. We have recently introduced a new Youth Voice Board to help us understand the experiences of teenagers with alopecia, and undertaken a men’s research project, but there is more work to do, and more people whose lived experience of alopecia we need to understand. In the coming weeks and months, Shalini Vaghela (Trustee for Alopecia UK) and Kelly Young (Volunteer and Resource Manager for Alopecia UK) will be hosting three online focus groups over Zoom aimed at listening to the alopecia experiences of people from ethnic minority communities, and underrepresented groups. We would like to take this time to try and identify the potential barriers people can face when accessing alopecia support in the UK. We are focusing our efforts on hearing people’s stories, and finding out how different cultural backgrounds, traditions, faiths and ethnicities can have an impact on engaging with alopecia-related support services. Shalini Vaghela, Trustee for Alopecia UK says: “At Alopecia UK, we all share the common mission of wanting to support people affected by alopecia. No matter what type of hair loss you are experiencing we want Alopecia UK to feel like a charity and a community that represents you. As part of these values, we are taking this time to consider how we engage with underrepresented groups and how this will shape our Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy going forward”. We want our focus groups to provide a safe and welcoming environment for individuals to share their alopecia journey, and help the charity better understand some of the challenges/barriers faced by people experiencing racial inequity. The lived experiences and views of the people who attend these focus groups (and information from other areas) will help Alopecia UK when developing our first EDI Strategy later in the year. We are already working on and developing new projects aimed at addressing underrepresented groups, and our Strategy will provide a framework for the action plans we will take into the future. How you can get involved One of the objectives of these focus groups is to encourage individuals from ethnic minority communities and underrepresented groups to share their experiences of alopecia. If this sounds like the type of discussion you would like to be involved in, please register for a focus group using the links below. Please note, to help us with note-taking, the audio from these focus groups will be recorded. Safety, consent and data security information will be sent to you ahead of any focus group you attend. Focus Groups Theme: Engaging with people from ethnic minority communities, underrepresented groups and people experiencing racial inequity to understand the barriers faced when accessing alopecia support in the UK. Location: Zoom Date, Times and Registration Links Thursday 14th October, 6.30pm-8pm: Register for this focus group here Tuesday 7th December, 6.30pm-8pm: Register for this focus group here Details: Full focus group details can be found here. The registration links will not give you access to the focus groups – once you have registered you will be sent a link to join the meeting closer to the time. To ensure everyone has a chance to share their experience, the maximum number of focus group participants will be 12 using Zoom breakout rooms. If you are unable to attend any of the dates but would still like to share your experience with us, please email Kelly at [email protected] and she will arrange a one-to-one Zoom call with you. Keeping the focus groups a safe space We understand that talking about your experience of alopecia can bring up a lot of different emotions. We want to ensure the focus group is a safe and supportive space. You can read the full safe spaces guidance here. Update: December 2021 In 2021, AUK developed it’s first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, and from this our new Alopecia Awareness Fund aimed at support hyper-local awareness initiatives. A new EDI Advisory Group coming in 2022 will help the charity meet the needs of our community moving forward. If you have any questions or comments about our equality, diversity and inclusion developments, please feel free to contact Kelly via email: [email protected].