Collaboration Shows Minority Mental Health and Wellbeing Matter


The Not A Red Card Awards, from multinational financial services company Legal & General, celebrate organisations and individuals that have developed and implemented best practice when it comes to mental health provision in the workplace.

Now in their third year, the awards are open to all types of workplaces. They include a range of categories to ensure both organisations and individuals are recognised.

The Collaboration Award is presented to a company demonstrating cross-sector or cross industry engagement with an initiative that brings together different stakeholders to address mental health in the workplace.

In 2019 The Collaboration Award was won by the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice which aims to build a better and safer society through the use of sport in the criminal justice system, to reduce violence, crime and reoffending.

Chief Executive James Mapstone is passionate about mental health. He believes that: “The more we look after our people and ensure they have the tools and support they need, the more we grow together and increase our impact”.

Levelling the Playing Field

Crucially, winning the Not A Red Card Collaboration Award in 2019 reinforced the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice’s credibility in the eyes of new partners. This helped the organisation to secure a grant of £1M to kick start a project for minority groups.

The new project is called Levelling the Playing Field. It will operate in four areas across England and Wales, with delivery specifically focused on London, the West Midlands, South Yorkshire and Gwent.

Developed in collaboration with the Youth Justice Board, the initiative uses the power of sport to engage and improve health and life outcomes for more than 11,200 black, Asian and minority ethnic children aged 10 to 17 who are in, or on the fringes of, the Criminal Justice System.

According to Mapstone, evidence suggests that disproportionality and the over-representation of diverse and minority ethnic groups involved with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) has bred a disconnect and mistrust between BAME communities and the CJS.

He says: “We know that sport can unite, empower and support change. We also know there are many amazing organisations around the country using the power of sport to successfully unite their communities”.

Stronger together

With so many different stakeholders involved in the initiative, it’s clear to see why the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice scooped the coveted Not A Red Card Collaboration Award.

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The project requires the development of local strategic partnerships to build the programme in each area. Working with each Youth Offending Team, the Police, and local Active Partnerships, the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice is in the process of identifying local delivery partners. Workforce development will begin once the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have been lifted.

Mapstone says: “Our long-term aim is to not only increase black, Asian and minority ethnic participation in sport. We also want to foster more active partnerships between sport and criminal justice agencies, advance youth justice policy to support a reduction in disproportionality in the Youth Justice System and develop an effective model for expansion across other areas of England and Wales. The Project will also support the development of intensive sport-based mentoring programmes”.

Making waves

Collaboration is key if we’re going to shift the stigma that has traditionally surrounded talking about mental health. It’s good to see organisations such as the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice working so proactively with stakeholders across their network.

Another great example of cross-sector collaboration is the teaming up of seven major UK retailers with mental health charity Samaritans to create an online wellbeing guide for workers in the sector.

Progressive employers such as Thames Water are also encouraging collaboration by proactively helping organisations in their supply chain to support workplace mental health and wellbeing. They have done this in part by including mental health and wellbeing in their suite of essential standards for suppliers.

If we can encourage more engagement across sectors, industries and stakeholders, imagine how this will turbo-charge support of workplace mental health and wellbeing.

If you have an initiative that you would like to enter for the Not A Red Card Collaboration Award, or for one of their other categories, you can find full details about how to enter here.

The Collaboration Award, along with five other categories – including The Leadership Award and Best Mental Health Initiative for SMEs and larger businesses – are open for submission until 14 August 2020.

About the author

Claire Farrow is the Global Director of Content and Programming for the Mad World and Make a Difference Summits. She also drives the content for Make A Difference News. Claire is on a mission to help every employer – large, medium and small – get the insight, inspiration and contacts they need to make real impact on workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing in their organisation. She has been freelance for more than 15 years. During that time, she has had the honour of working with many leading publishers, including the New York Times


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