Hugh Baird College have been awarded the Navajo Charter Mark in recognition of their commitment and knowledge of the specific needs, issues and barriers facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
The Navajo Merseyside & Cheshire LGBT Charter Mark is an equality mark sponsored by In-Trust Merseyside & Sefton Embrace and supported by the LGBT Community networks across Merseyside.
As part of their journey to achieving the award, the college reviewed all current policies, procedures and practices and enhanced and increased the excellent services that were already available to support the needs of the College’s LGBT community.
In addition, a wide range of front line college staff received training on how to support the LGBT community, specifically gender reassignment. This allows staff to offer guidance and support to any students questioning their gender, experiencing or considering gender reassignment or being affected by other gender reassignment issues. As a result of this, college students created a group called Transition which provides learners with the opportunity to meet to discuss problems or concerns they may be experiencing.
Navajo award assessors were also impressed with the wide range of community groups the college is involved in, the college’s approach to tackling bullying and the informative events schedule in place at the organisation.
Hugh Baird College’s Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Janine Hopewell who led the college’s application for the award said:
“The college has always been known as an inclusive and supportive organisation, but it is extremely rewarding to have the work we undertake recognised by such a prestigious award as the Navajo quality mark.”
“The award demonstrates our commitment to addressing the needs of our LGBT service users and is a strong endorsement of the non-judgemental culture we have here at Hugh Baird College.”
“Achieving the award has been a real cross college effort and I would like to thank all those who have been involved. But this is just the start. We plan to build on this achievement and develop the support we offer all students at the college.”
Louise Sullivan, Hugh Baird College Student Services Manager added:
“Many members of the LGBT community are victims of hate crime and can often find it difficult to talk about their issues. Many also struggle to be open and honest about their gender, sexuality and the feelings they may be experiencing. This often has a knock on effect on other areas of their lives such as work or college. Here at Hugh Baird College, we are proud to have created and nurtured a stigma free culture where individuals can speak openly to others without the fear of bullying or prejudice.”
A student spokesperson from the college’s Transition group said:
“The support offered at Hugh Baird College has been amazing. I have been a victim of bullying in the past, but since arriving at the college I have really started to be myself and this has been reflected in my grades and the group of friends I now have. What I like best about the College is the number of staff members you can speak to about any problems or concerns you might have. They always make time for you and treat you with respect.”