20th January 2021


Building on the last highly productive few months, UK Athletics is hitting the ground running at the start of 2021 to deliver several key activities as part of its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) programme.

Later this month the Diversity Action Plan (DAP) will be published which evolves and builds on the 2017-2020 DAP actions, from the “Let’s Talk About Race” programme to the commitment to the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter. The Diversity Action Plan, which runs from 2021 to 2024, forms an integral part of UKA’s overall vision for the sport to be the most diverse, safe, popular and inclusive sport across the UK.  It specifically outlines actions around engagement; recruitment and retention; and progressing talent from within as the Race at Work Charter Calls to Actions.

During January, which is National Mentoring Month, UKA will be unveiling a very exciting new mentoring partnership that builds on last year’s highly successful collaboration with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Mentoring can be a key tool to develop an individual’s capability and potential and this new 12-month programme will see UKA sharing their expertise and learning with another governing body.

Later in 2021, UKA will be, for the first time, offering young athletes, coaches, officials and parents/carers LGBT+ inclusion workshops from Diversity Role Models (DRM) – an organisation who work to embed inclusion and empathy in the next generation. DRM has been delivering its LGBT+ inclusion workshops in schools since 2011, encouraging students in primary and secondary schools to embrace difference and end bullying.

Dan Beeson, Relationships and Experience Manager with DRM said; “Our impact in changing attitudes to LGBT+ people across schools nationwide, from students to teachers, is as vital now than ever. This new project aims to bring this impact to a new setting, where young athletes can learn the values of acceptance, tolerance and understand being an athlete and being LGBT+ are not exclusive from one another.”

The Let’s Talk about Race programme, launched following the murder of George Floyd, culminated in a sport-wide commitment to tackle issues of racial inequality by UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAF). Following a series of round tables that brought together voices from across the athletics community to discuss race, the RACEquality Network has been proposed. This newly-formed network will consist of individuals from across the sport – athletes, officials, coaches and administrators – who will support, inform and advise UKA and HCAFs around racial issues.

In addition, UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations are working together to review existing checklists, ensuring consistency as well as helping to embed good practice and reflect the issues raised in conversations coming out of the Let’s Talk about Race programme.

Later this month staff from across the organisation will attend an unconscious bias online workshop as part of UKA’s commitment to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity programme.  The workshop is run by Vercida, an international recruitment and training organisation specialising in equality and inclusion, who for a number of years have supported UKA in becoming an inclusive employer of choice to attract diverse candidates for advertised roles.

Donna Fraser, Equality, Diversity & Engagement Lead said: “I am excited about these initiatives and, most importantly, the impact they will have on our staff and the wider athletics community. We will continue to learn as an organisation and as individuals and I look forward to following the progress of these activities as this will shape and influence our work going forward.”

Joanna Coates, CEO of UKA, said: “I am extremely proud to be in a position to lead the organisation forward into a new positive era and I will ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion remain at the very heart of what we do. I am excited by the initiatives we are launching this month and believe these will make a big impact going forward. We must continually review, learn and develop as an organisation and it is imperative that we continue to listen to all of the athletics community as we progress.”