Social inclusion and diversity
Blue Sky Community Services works to create communities where everyone belongs and is valued. We are committed to social inclusion for everyone in our communities, and we acknowledge and value diversity. This includes people who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+), people experiencing mental illness, and younger and older people.
While there is no single definition of social inclusion, some definitions we like include:
- People being able to participate in society, and creating conditions for equal opportunities for all (Australian Human Rights Commission);
- It goes beyond simply being nice or prohibiting discrimination to how a group actively creates an environment in which diverse members share a sense of belonging, mutual respect and being valued for who they are so they can do their best work” (Miller & Katz, 2002); and
- Inclusive society is defined as a society for all, in which every individual has an active role to play (UNESCO).
Be socially inclusive
Blue Sky Community Services values and supports mainstream inclusion in businesses, services and community activities for everyone. We do this in the following ways, and encourage you to do this too:
- Promote awareness about inclusion in the community by supporting people to find their place in society and to have a valued role in community. Remember that inclusion can be attitudinal or environmental.
- Create conversations, ask questions and be curious about how to be more inclusive. Find out how to be more inclusive by asking respectful questions, ask what people can do and what they can imagine themselves doing, as opening a dialogue creates possibilities. Robbie talks about the way our Sports Ability program lets kids asks him questions about his disability here.
- Embrace difference and find ways to celebrate everyone. Everyone has a ‘gift’ or a something they can bring to life and connect with other people.
- Fight exclusion by breaking down barriers and speaking up when something is unfair or exclusive.
- Identify opportunities to grow inclusion, and fostering businesses, events, locations and people that are inclusive in our community. Find ways for everyone to belong.
Social Inclusion Week
Social Inclusion Week is a national event held in the last week of each November. It aims to help Australians feel valued and to give people the opportunity to participate fully in society. It encourages communities to reconnect and be inclusive of all cultures, age groups, nationalities and supporting people who are disadvantaged. Key social inclusion target groups include:
- Young people 12-25 years of age;
- Jobless families with children;
- Disadvantaged Australians;
- People with a disability or mental illness;
- People who are homeless;
- Older people; and
- Indigenous Australians.
Our staff have formed a Social Inclusion Committee to acknowledge and celebrate ‘Social Inclusion Week’ locally each year. This Committee also creates social awareness and connection through projects and events that bring together local businesses, groups and individuals throughout the year.
Celebrating social inclusion
Blue Sky Community Services celebrates and acknowledges excellence in social inclusion. Let us know if you have experienced inclusive customer service from a local business or community group. We will send an ‘Inclusive Award’ celebrating this in response to your nomination. Please contact us using our details on the right hand side to let us know.
Social inclusion training and practice
We also want to create a conversation for how to become more socially inclusive for other groups who are starting their journey. Blue Sky Community Services provides Good Customer Service inclusiveness training. Please contact us to find out more.
Ask questions about whether your business, service or community activity is inclusive with questions like:
- Is the physical premise of the building/shop/workplace/club accessible to all?
- Is there an action plan to make the organisation/service/business open to all?
- How are people made to feel welcome in the workplace/service/organisation?
- Are the customs of people from diverse cultures in the community understood?
- Are the traditional owners of the site acknowledged?
- Is the website accessible for people with disabilities?
- Are people from the LGBTIQ+ community welcome?
- Is the service or business easy to use?