Silver Award of the LGBT Charter for Saints Sport

Fergus Knight
Wednesday 13 January 2021

The past year has been one of hardships and challenges, but development at Saints Sport has persevered through. A combination of campaigns, events, and education have allowed Saints Sport to achieve the Silver Award of the LGBT Charter.

Managed by LGBT Youth Scotland, the Charter is a programme that enables organisations and schools to become a champion of LGBT inclusion, where customers, employees and service users feel safe, supported and included. Drawn from international human rights and Scottish legislation, the LGBT Charter has an eight-pronged approach. Among these are the rights to be “kept from harm,” “heard,” and “cared for”.

The Programme has enabled Saints Sport to proactively include LGBT people in every aspect of their work, from protecting staff and providing high quality services, to Saints Sport customers and students.

Some of the most notable actions at Saints Sport for LGBT inclusion has seen members and staff at Saints Sport undertaking training, and a review of policies, practice and resources to make sure that they are not only meeting legislative needs but that they are as inclusive as they possibly can be.

Saints Sport also continues to support national and international campaigns including Purple Friday, a social media movement during February’s LGBT History Month. It featured key statistics and facts about homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. Events alongside this included rainbow flag decorations in the sports centre’s foyer and sharing rainbow laces across clubs. Many sports teams consequently posted to their social media channels to support LGBT History Month.

Among these events, LGBT athletes at Saints Sport were celebrated as their experiences were shared online. Along with a themed event hosted at the Union, these campaigns have raised money for Stonewall; a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity in the UK.

The campaigns have been so successful that many more students have been reaching out to share their stories and finding ways to further inclusion. In particular, clubs have added LGBT inclusion to their constitutions and been involved in online webinars about tackling barriers.

Willie Rennie, on behalf of the Scottish Parliament, congratulated Saints Sport on this success. He particularly remarked on the dedication and hard work required in achieving the award, and how well these commitments have paid off.

Sport Development Manager, Claire Scott, commented on the award: “I am delighted that Saints Sport has been awarded the LGBT Charter Silver Award. This makes a clear statement that equality and diversity are at the heart of what we do at Saints Sport.

“It has been a journey of discovery, understanding and strong partnership. This award would not have been achieved without a team of great people around us including HR and Student Services. We have worked tirelessly to ensure Saints Sport became the first Sports Department in Scotland to complete the LGBT Charter.”

Head of Equality and Diversity, Human Resources, Sukhi Bains, said: “The attaining of the award is due to the sheer motivation demonstrated and work undertaken on LGBT+ inclusion by DSE & AU, evidenced from March 2019 to date.

“The self-evaluation framework that is the Charter, required a critical look at current provision and support in place, and also to be ambitious for future advances.

“My congratulations to the team involved, the DSE Director, AU President, and special thanks to Claire Scott (Sports Development Manager and LGBTIQ+ Role Model) for coordinating, and whom EDI enjoyed working with on the submission.”

Vice-Principal Education (Proctor), Prof Clare Peddie, commented: “I would like to congratulate the team at Saints Sport in achieving the LGBT Silver Charter award in recognition of their commitment to providing a safe environment that embraces, supports and includes everyone.

“These efforts are a crucial part of the University’s strategic ambition to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of the St Andrews experience, and we place great value on the important work that departments and schools do to instil a culture of tolerance, respect, kindness, and courtesy towards others.

“I’m delighted to see our Department of Sport and the Athletic Union working hard to review policy and practice in order to identify and overcome barriers to participation, whilst turning an optimistic belief in change into a palpable shift in culture so that all staff and students can realise their potential.”

Further details of the University’s goal to promote diversity are available in the University of St Andrews Strategy 2018-2023.

For further information about Saints Sports’ work in this area, please contact:

Claire Scott (Sports Development Manager)
Email: [email protected]

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