Thames Valley businesses REACH out for race equity

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BAME launch

Thames Water has joined forces with the University of Reading and Oracle to launch the Thames Valley Race Equity and Cultural Harmony (REACH) Network.

The network brings together over 30 companies from the Thames Valley which have committed to working together to attract, progress and retain diverse talent, ensuring equal opportunities for people of all races and backgrounds.

A launch event was held in Reading last week and was attended by more than 50 people from the Thames Valley business community.

Sunny Tucker, communications director at Thames Water and executive sponsor of the company’s Black, Asian and mixed ethnicity (BAME) network, said: “We’re delighted to be a founder member of the Thames Valley REACH network. Many members of the BAME population need better guidance and to develop greater confidence to succeed in the workplace. By joining forces, this network could be a real source of both inspiration and practical help to people across our BAME network and beyond.

“I’m particularly excited about the opportunity to work with local companies, both big and small, to share best practice and develop cross-mentoring schemes.”

Simon Chandler Wilde, dean for diversity and inclusion at the University of Reading, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Thames Water and we look forward to working in a new regional network with Thames Water, Oracle, and many other partners to share good practice on working towards race equity.”

Guest speakers at the launch event included Alok Sharma MP, who discussed the #explainorchange initiative, encouraging everyone to talk about race disparity and the impact of race on people’s lives.

Members of the REACH Network will meet at regular intervals to share experiences and best practice and have also set up their own social media group to stay in touch.

Jaymin Patel, the Thames Water BAME network chair, said: “I found the Thames Valley BAME event both inspiring and uplifting. It was great to meet and hear from a so many individuals who have clearly made a huge contribution in moving forward on Ethnicity and Diversity across the Thames Valley and London areas.

“I am inspired by the successes that some of the other organisations, with more established BAME networks, have delivered in integrating BAME population into everything they do, and I look forward to achieving the same milestones at Thames Water.”