Anti-racism programme

Read about our anti-racism programme and continued commitment to becoming an actively anti-racist organisation.

Our vision is for the British Red Cross to be an organisation where people of all ethnicities feel welcomed to work, volunteer or seek help.

Where there is equal opportunity, and everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

To put it simply, we reject all forms of racism and there is absolutely no place for it at the British Red Cross.

Being an anti-racist organisation is at the heart of our purpose. 

It is about understanding and addressing the historically ingrained inequality that so many charities are faced with in their work.

This enables us to reach the people who need us most in a crisis.

Arrow icon Progress so far

Arrow icon Insight and experience

Arrow icon New Heritage strategy

Arrow icon What does the programme include?

Arrow icon Statement from chief executive

Progress so far

In recent years, we have been working hard to ensure that we become a more inclusive and diverse organisation in line with our fundamental principles, as well as our organisational values.

We have invested time, leadership and funds in recognition of our commitment and have made some good progress. This includes increasing the number of employees who identify as being from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority (B.A.M.E.) background from 8% in 2017 to 13% in 2020.

Over the past year, we have also done more to play our part in addressing the inequalities and discrimination experienced by people of colour in our country.

For example, last summer our education team produced a public guide on how to talk to children about racism

And last month, we launched our ‘vaccine conversations’ campaign, which features our own people and is aimed at supporting people from B.A.M.E. communities to have informed discussions about getting vaccinated against Covid-19. 

Insight and experience

As part of our anti-racism programme, we commissioned an internal survey to understand people’s experience of race-related prejudice at the British Red Cross.

The survey asked questions about all discriminatory experiences, from micro-aggressions to overt racist behaviour.

The results of our survey told us that while the vast majority of our people understand it’s everyone’s role to tackle racism at the Red Cross, people of colour have experienced racism, and many felt it had not been dealt with effectively.

Every experience of being subjected to or witnessing racism at the British Red Cross is one too many. We would like to say to anyone who has experienced racism while working or volunteering with us: we are sorry. We hear you, we see you and we believe you – and we will do better.


Our anti-racism programme is focused on creating meaningful change throughout the whole of the British Red Cross.

It is about making a sustainable, deep and long-term commitment to becoming a more inclusive and diverse organisation. It will look to impact all our processes and programmes, fundamentally evolving the way we operate and support our people.

New Heritage strategy

Being an actively anti-racist organisation in the present means understanding our heritage. The British Red Cross is a 150-year-old organisation embedded in our nation’s history.

We know we reflected the geography of the British Empire in our organisational structure at the time and we continue to have branches in overseas territories today.

In our new Heritage strategy, we are committed to better understanding and confronting this part of our history, and to discover more about the many people of colour who have made contributions to the British Red Cross.

What does the programme include?

Our anti-racism programme outlines the following key commitments over the next two years:

  • We will prioritise organisational learning, equipping the organisation at all levels with the appropriate skills, behaviours, competencies, and awareness to address anti-racism effectively. This workstream will have clear ownership through senior leadership.
  • We will review our HR policies and frameworks to ensure they are meaningfully anti-racist.
  • We will provide and promote access to decision making through inclusive decision-making approaches. To do this, we will provide and promote access to leadership to ensure transparency and meaningful consultation.
  • We will build responsibility and accountability into our process and procedures, including the development of an inclusion and diversity accountability model.
  • We will ensure meaningful data capturing and reporting on racist incidences and progress on our anti-racism programme.
  • We will implement tools for psychological safety to ensure there are safe spaces and pathways to challenge behaviours.
  • We will ensure there is clear organisational awareness and understanding around anti-racism language.
  • We are working to understand the intersectionality of experience how a person's social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.

Published 9 March 2021