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Friends House wins Best Venue for EDI award!

Date posted:27 Nov 2023      |      Author: Sou Manhsinh

Spread the word: Friends House won the Best Venue for EDI award at the London Venue and Catering Awards 2023! EDI stands for equality, diversity and inclusion. The ceremony took place on Friday 24 November. This award is a testament to all the work, training and EDI initiatives we have put in place. How do we implement EDI in our venue? Read our blog below to find out how we provide an inclusive event experience to all in our venue:

An inclusive venue from the start

As a Quaker venue, Friends House has always been a place for inclusion. This led to hosting many diverse groups and organisations, including peace, independence and Civil Rights movements. In 1931,  Mahatma Gandhi gave his first public speech in London in our auditorium. In December 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was introduced at a lunch reception in Friends House by Bayard Rustin, a Quaker and Civil Rights activist. This was part of King’s visit to London ahead of his Nobel Prize ceremony. Today, we continue this tradition of inclusion, as people of any faith, sexual orientation, gender, class, background, ethnicity, or with disability still meet in our 33 meeting rooms and event spaces.

Acknowledging our diverse community

As a Quaker venue, we have a firm commitment to EDI. We uphold values such as equality, peace, truth, justice, and simplicity. This is why we strive to provide a comfortable and safe environment. We want every individual to feel respected and valued in their identities, regardless of their faith, sexual orientation, gender, class, background, ethnicity or disability.

Here are a few things we’ve done to acknowledge our diversity:

  • We trained mental health first aiders,
  • We have gender neutral toilet facility available on site,
  • A worship space is available for quiet time and prayer of any faith.

Placing accessibility at the centre

We want to be inclusive and accessible to all. To ensure this is happening, we have the following in place:

  • A detailed accessibility guide on the Accessable website for all the areas in our venue,
  • Signs for autism awareness on our hand driers,
  • Two accessible lifts with voice announcements and hearing loops,
  • Enhanced lighting throughout the meeting spaces to aid the visually impaired,
  • Accessible toilets on every floor,
  • Assistive audio systems (induction loop or infrared) are installed in our larger meeting spaces, portable systems are available for our other rooms.

Doing the work on race and equality

We are always exploring areas of improvement on the question of race. This led to an EDI audit report, made available to staff in June 2022. As a result, an EDI Working Group was set up. We also implemented training:

  • Race Equity workshops: 3 sessions focusing on power and privilege, micro-aggressions, how to have challenging conversations safely,
  • Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion workshops set up over the last few months and attended by all staff.

Find out more on our EDI page.

Being an ethical employer

In line with our Quaker values, we are committed to staff well-being. This is translated in our fair payment structure and recent improvements to family-friendly and flexible working policies:

  • We are a Living Wage Employer
  • We pay staff above the London Live Wage
  • We have a 1:4 ratio between our highest and our lowest paid staff
  • We report on our gender pay gap

You can find out more on our Pay & Benefits page.

Looking ahead: improving EDI in our venue

We know there’s still room for improvement. We are currently looking at ways to transform one of our accessible toilets into a changing places toilet. We also want our public facing staff to learn British Sign Language, and are currently researching courses. Working on EDI, being inclusive, accessible, that’s in our DNA. If you’re looking for a welcoming venue for your next event, choose us! Contact us today to book a space: events@quaker.org.uk.


Get in Touch

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No worries our team at Friends House is always here to help.

Events team on 020 7663 1100 or events@quaker.org.uk