Empowering organisations: Strengthening governance and safeguarding practices

At Community Foundation Wales, our commitment goes beyond providing financial support to our grantees; we strive to empower organisations, particularly in terms of governance.

Recognising the pivotal role governance plays, we established a Grant Toolkit section of our website, with a dedicated focus on governance. This toolkit serves as a comprehensive resource, guiding groups through their duties related to key policies, documents, regulatory requirements, and the expectations of funders, setting a minimum standard we uphold at Community Foundation Wales.

In the past 12–18 months, due to external influences, our programs have delved into supporting refugees, asylum seekers, and individuals from culturally diverse communities.

Beyond financial assistance, we sought to ensure that the organisations we support are equipped with robust safeguarding practices. As part of our application process, we requested copies of groups’ Safeguarding Policies, revealing a need for enhanced knowledge and understanding, especially within the Welsh context.

Our engagement with these groups uncovered concerns extending beyond conventional definitions of abuse, encompassing gender equality, intergenerational attitudes, extremism, radicalization, and trafficking.

In response to these insights, we collaborated with the Safeguarding team at WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action) and the Welsh Refugee Council to organise a Safeguarding Workshop in November 2023. This workshop specifically targeted groups working within diverse cultural backgrounds.

Attendees, comprising both successful and unsuccessful applicants to our programs, included trustees, committee members, and directors—individuals pivotal to safeguarding responsibilities within their organisations. The workshop aimed not only to equip them with knowledge but also to encourage the sharing of experiences and concerns to build a supportive network.

Held at our Cardiff office, the face-to-face workshop attracted participants primarily from Cardiff and surrounding areas, with attendees also joining from Swansea and Newport. In recognition of language barriers, interpreters were appointed to ensure effective communication.

The first session, conducted by WCVA, was an interactive presentation emphasising the importance of safeguarding, identifying those who require protection, and outlining the essential components of an effective safeguarding response.

Participants engaged actively, with WCVA signposting to valuable resources such as the Wales Safeguarding Procedures app and highlighting the support available from their team. This collaborative effort aims to foster a culture of robust governance and safeguarding practices, ensuring that organisations are well-equipped to navigate the challenges they may encounter in their diverse working environments.

The second session, facilitated by the Welsh Refugee Council, provided a valuable platform for participating groups to delve deeper into experiences beyond the scope of the initial presentation. This interactive segment encouraged open discussions on overcoming challenges unique to working with diverse cultural backgrounds. Attendees actively shared anecdotes, creating a forum for collective problem-solving.

One noteworthy discussion revolved around the delicate task of communicating to the older generation that physical punishment of children in prohibited in Wales. In many cultures, physical discipline is deemed acceptable or indeed necessary for maintaining discipline, posing a significant cultural shift for some diverse communities. The conversation provided essential guidance and support, offering insights on navigating these cultural nuances and ensuring a harmonious integration of practises within the Welsh context.

Additionally, participants shared stories highlighting gender inequalities, shedding light on instances where women are disempowered or abused due to cultural beliefs or practices that run counter to UK law. These narratives emphasised the complex challenges organisations face when addressing cultural norms that may conflict with legal frameworks, prompting thoughtful discussions on strategies to promote equality and safeguarding within diverse communities.

The Welsh Refugee Council’s session served as a catalyst for meaningful conversations, fostering understanding, and inspiring collaborative solutions. It exemplified the importance of creating spaces for dialogue, where organisations can learn from one another’s experiences and work collectively towards building inclusive and supportive communities.

We are thrilled to share the enriching experience we gained from hosting a workshop for multi-cultural groups. The diversity of participants brought a unique blend of perspectives, fostering an environment of shared learning and understanding.

Through this endeavour, we not only imparted valuable knowledge but also gained profound insights into the cultural nuances and diverse approaches that each participant brought to the table.

It was a truly enlightening experience that has broadened our horizons and deepened our appreciation for the richness of cultural diversity. We take pride in having facilitated this opportunity and are excited about the positive impact it has had on both our team and the participants. This workshop has reinforced our commitment to fostering inclusivity and collaboration, and we look forward to future endeavours that celebrate and embrace diversity.

Take a look at our Grants Toolkit here.

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