Council continues to promote fairness and inclusion
South Ayrshire Council continues to make good progress when it comes to eliminating discrimination and promoting equalities.
A recent report underlines what the Council is doing in communities and internally to promote fairness and inclusion and reduce disadvantage.
The Council is working to ensure even more people have access to services and can participate in community life. To help achieve this ambition, the Council is building housing in the heart of communities which meet the needs of older people and those with mobility issues.
29 new 'amenity bungalows' have already been built, the first of their kind in Ayrshire. These homes are wheelchair accessible, low maintenance and affordable, supporting independent living within close-knit communities.
New schools are also being built and there is a refurbishment programme to ensure existing schools are fully accessible with innovative spaces to encourage learning and help reduce the attainment gap.
The Council is keen to encourage the wider use of schools, so during the recent Our People, Our Place initiative, schools in north Ayr and Girvan were used as community hubs to bring services to the people that need them.
The Council is also linking with communities to encourage people to report diversity crimes. A campaign ran late last year to encourage people to recognise these offences and report less visible crimes such as human trafficking. Ayr was named as one of the 27 locations in Scotland where victims of human trafficking have been identified in the last five years.
There has been a push to engage with young people to raise awareness of sexual exploitation. A series of workshops have been running with the majority of those attending (99%) saying they now have a better awareness, knowledge and understanding.
Training and workshops have also taken place within the Council to ensure staff are aware of LGBT issues. The Council is working toward achieving an LGBT Youth Scotland Charter Mark however this important accreditation has already been secured by the Council's youth work team in recognition of their commitment to best practice.
The Council celebrated LGBT History Month by flying the rainbow flag throughout February. This was an opportunity to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives and culture with Council staff taking part in fund raising activities.
Employees at the Council have also been taking part in disability awareness sessions to increase their understanding of the challenges and barriers faced by clients with a learning disability.
The Council is ensuring disabled employees (and those with underlying health conditions) have opportunities to fulfil their potential. In recognition of this, the Council has achieved Disability Confident Employer (level 2) status.
Councillor Laura Brennan-Whitefield, Chair of the Equalities Forum said: "This report shows there has been significant progress made to ensure everybody in our communities feels valued and supported.
"We're on a journey, but the Council has a clear vision for what we want to achieve over the next 5 years regarding our equality and diversity outcomes.
"I'm confident we will continue to make good progress as we look to remove barriers to ensure that everyone is treated fairly no matter their background or identity."
The progress report can be found here