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Tackling racism in Cornwall

Racism is unacceptable and has no place in our society or communities.

While Cornwall is considered to be an open and welcoming place, for many this is not always the case. We want to become an actively anti-racist place to live, work, and visit.

We know we need to do more to deal with racism in our communities. In 2020, after George Floyd's death, partners in Cornwall made some recommendations. They made them to help Cornwall's leaders tackle racial inequality. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board endorsed these recommendations in September 2020. The death of George Floyd highlighted the urgent need for societal change. As we reflect on these challenges, it is vital to reaffirm our commitment. We are committed to fostering inclusive and welcoming communities. Despite progress, racial inequality continues. It is important that we keep promoting equality and inclusion. And create a fairer and more welcoming place for all.

Leadership board recommendations

In October 2023, we created a new internal Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Board. It has an independent Chair.  The EDI Board’s role is to drive the Council’s continued commitment to advancing equality, diversity, and inclusion. Our commitment is set out in the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2022-2026.

What are we doing?

As a council, it is important that we take the lead in promoting racial equality.

  • Together with our partners, we are committed to delivering The Cornwall Plan. The plan's focus is to ensure that everyone can thrive in a diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist Cornwall.
  • We continue to carry forward the recommendations endorsed by the Leadership Board.
  • Our Equality Diversity and Inclusion Strategy highlights the importance of advancing race equality as highlighted by the objective to the council is an actively anti-racist organisation, advancing race equality across Cornwall. 
  • We continue to review our equality, diversity and inclusion policies and recruitment practices.
  • Our refugee resettlement service is helping integrate refugees into our communities. 

We have already:

  • changed our equal opportunity statement in job adverts.
  • introduced new training modules for staff.
  • produced a race equality action plan for the organisation and a toolkit for staff.

We recognise that we must continue to challenge racial inequality and unconscious bias in the workplace.

Partnership with Race Equality Matters

In February 2021, we began working with Race Equality Matters, which is a collaboration of:

  • companies
  • organisations
  • race networks
  • experts in the field
  • allies and
  • employees aiming to improve workplace equality across the public, private, and charity sectors.

Race Equality Matters has solutions that help promote race equality within organisations. We are committed to putting these actions into practice.

Listed below are some of the initiatives we have implemented. 


TeaBreaks provide the framework for an organisation to hear about race inequality through the honest voices and feelings of its colleagues. They provide a safe space for staff to share their experiences.

  • They are one-hour themed discussions about an issue that matters.
  • Employees are invited, in person or online, to listen to others or actively participate. Individuals can choose to remain anonymous or not.

We held our first TeaBreak discussion during Black History Month 2021 and now hold them regularly. We have discussed various topics:

  • Race and Identity in the Workplace
  • Microaggressions
  • Allyship
  • Belonging 

Race Equality Week

Race Equality Week (REW) is an annual UK-wide movement uniting hundreds of thousands of organisations and individuals to address the barriers to race equality in the workplace.

  • REW 2022 - We held a TeaBreak discussion on the importance of Ally-ship and promoted the #MyNameisCampaign, which encourages employees to spell their names phonetically as part of their email signature.
  • REW 2023 - We promoted The Big Promise campaign. The campaign urges individuals and organisations to make a public commitment against racial inequality. We are pleased that many staff and senior leaders have already made their commitment.
  • REW 2024 – We held a discussion with Ama Afrifa-Tchie, a Strategic Leadership Team Board Member for Race Equality Matters, who delivered a great session on how to manage uncomfortable conversations about discrimination and prejudice.


#MyNameis is a campaign that encourages the correct pronunciation of people’s names. 
Names are an integral part of our identities and culture. They are part of our daily lives when introducing ourselves and interacting with others. As our societies and communities become more diverse, we are more likely to encounter unfamiliar names. Taking the time to understand how to pronounce unfamiliar names is an important skill as we become more interconnected. To support the #MyNameIs campaign, we are encouraging employees to spell their names phonetically as part of their email signature.

The Big Promise

The Big Promise is a public commitment for action that an individual or organisation makes to create a positive change, which is measurable and to which they will be held accountable. Several of our employees including, and strategic leaders have joined in the pledge. 

Trailblazer Awards

Race Equality Matters have also launched Trailblazer Awards .These awards spotlight organisations that are committed to tackling racial inequality.

In November 2022, we received the Bronze Trailblazer award. We are dedicated to continuing our efforts to make the council an actively anti-racist organisation as we work towards achieving a Silver Trailblazer. 

Engaging with local organisations

The Council has been working with Black Voices Cornwall since 2023
They have delivered Councillor and senior management training. They are delivering Lunch and Learn sessions. In October they discussed the findings from the Black Voices Project, an account of the experience of being Black in Britain. Our next session will focus on how to discuss race and racism with children.

Cornwall Diversity Food Festival

Since 2018, Cornwall Council has been involved in the Cornwall Diversity Food Festival. This is an annual event held to celebrate different nationalities, faiths, and denominations. The festival is open to all and offers delicious food from across the globe prepared in Cornwall.

Since 2019, the Council has been a lead delivery partner for the event. The event has been held at County Hall in Truro since 2019 (apart from when there were Covid restrictions in place).

The festival encourages people from diverse cultures and backgrounds to celebrate and learn about their differences and similarities. The festival is a platform that connects communities. It celebrates diversity and encourages cultural equality. Partners include Devon and Cornwall Police, Truro City Council, Rice and Peas and Truro Nourish Hub. We are always looking out for new partners to join in the celebration.

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