LCR Pride Award winner, Sheena-Marie Williams, has been appointed the North West Area Lead for Pride in Prison and Probation (PiPP), the Probation and Prison Service’s LGBT+ staff support network.
Sheena was awarded the Michael Causer Award for Work to Tackle Hate Crime at the inaugural LCR Pride Awards in September 2019, where she was recognised for her research into homophobic hate crimes.
Her Majesty Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS) is the only organisation that has full-time LGBT+ staff network leads. In her new role, Sheena – like her counterparts in RISE (Racial Inclusion & Striving for Equality) and DAWN (Disability, Advocacy, Well-being Network) – will be given four days a month facility time for volunteering to lead the North West networks.
The PiPP staff network launched in November 2016 to establish links and work collaboratively with external networks and stakeholders to provide support, advice and awareness materials to develop more inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and communities. It’s core aims are to:
- Provide confidential support and assistance to members and provide leadership, support and expertise on LGBTI+ issues
- Recognise and address the barriers to inclusion and increase opportunities to participate
- Identify, provide and share opportunities for social networking, internally and externally
- Devise ways to strategically influence policies and practices, drive up standards of best practice and promote excellence in LGBTI+ equality and inclusion
- Establish links and work collaboratively with internal and external networks & stakeholders
- Speaking of her appointment, Sheena said: “I am extremely proud to have been appointed into this role. My aim is to work with the current links we have, enhance these and generate new links with agencies, charities or organisations where we had no reach beforehand. This will include, if invited, attendance at local schools, youth groups or similar.
“I am in the position where I am provided with a day a week to concentrate on this role, which means I will be able to present our aims and network through discussions and by speaking at external events. As well as undertaking such activities. I am also keen to be made aware of any local events within Merseyside and the wider North West area, so I am able to share these with my colleagues and look to attend myself.”
In recent months the PiPP network has engaged with Stonewall LGBTI+ role models/allies programmes and workplace conferences, which has seen the organisation rise from 114th (2017) to 5th in their top 100 employers (2020), each year being awarded highly commended network status.
It established the HMPPS Trans advisory board which has Gendered Intelligence, Bent Bars and trans rights campaigner, Jenny Ann-Bishop OBE as members and developed a PiPP Trans Toolkit which was released to staff nationally to develop their understanding and confidence working with Trans service users.
PiPP has also been awarded the In-Trust Merseyside’s NAVAJO LGBT Charter Mark for good practice, arranged for LGBTI+ group leaders to visit its workplaces to showcase and discuss the work we do and members have shared their stories with staff, service users and external bodies through speaking engagements.
The network also offers support for local services in the form of advertising their services, events and fundraising needs to our staff and/or service users, supporting funding applications, sponsoring events, offering the use of facilities, participating in their training programmes or assisting the running of them, providing volunteers sharing experience/knowledge.
Sheena added: “I am extremely grateful for the support of my ACO Jan Marlow, Head of Liverpool and Sefton Probation services, who is incredibly supportive of LGBT+ initiatives within HMPPS, and the PiPP National Lead, Nic Turner. I am looking forward to continuing PiPP’s work and working with organisations across the North West to improve LGBT+ visibility and inclusion.”
To find out more about working with PiPP or to request one of the network’s toolkits, please contact Sheena on [email protected] putting “PiPP” in the subject line.