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Mary Seacole Trust newsletter - SUMMER 2018

Trevor Sterling, Chair of Mary Seacole Trust

The statue of Mary Seacole, sited at St Thomas’ Hospital directly across the Thames from Big Ben, was unveiled by Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE on 30 June 2016 in front of over 300 guests. It is the first statue of a named black woman in the United Kingdom.

The statue was funded through donations from thousands of individual supporters, as well as from a small number of larger donors. The Chancellor of the Exchequer also provided a grant from LIBOR banking fines towards the installation of the statue.

The statue is important in symbolising Mary Seacole’s contribution, particularly as a nurse, and of black and minority ethnic (BAME) people to British society.

But we see it as much more than just a memorial. We intend the statue to be a powerful influence for good, harnessing the positivity arising from the renewed awareness of Mary Seacole and creating lasting benefits for society.

Our Vision; We want British society to become fairer, more inclusive and more harmonious. We believe that overcoming exclusion and increasing participation by promoting equality of both opportunity and outcome within organisations will help to accomplish this as well as inspiring good citizenship amongst the younger generation.

Young Seacole Ambassadors' Initiative 2018

Thursday 28th June 2018 was a landmark day for the Mary Seacole Trust. The board of trustees, together with our patrons and esteemed guests, gathered for a reception at the House of Lords to announce the winner of the inaugural Young Seacole Ambassador initiative.

The day was special in more ways than one as it was also marking the second anniversary of the unveiling of the statue of Mary Seacole in the gardens of St Thomas’ Hospital.

The competition was to encourage primary school children to recognise and embrace Mary Seacole’s qualities by identifying their ‘modern day Seacole’. Our philosophy is that Mary is still relevant today because the qualities that she demonstrated are some of the key principles that affect us in this modern era.

The competition was open to children in years 5 and 6 from schools across the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. The 75 entries received (from 9 schools) was of a very high standard, incorporating stories, poetry and art. Four external and 2 internal judges had the challenging task of selecting 10 entries to go on to the shortlist, which was then considered by each MST trustee in order to find our first Young Seacole Ambassador. To say that the quality of entries was of a similar high level is an understatement, as a second and third place could not be determined, 3 entries all sharing the same score were awarded runner up places.

The success of this, our first, YSA initiative has further confirmed the importance of the Mary Seacole education legacy, where young people are encouraged to look for and demonstrate acts of compassion, consistency, determination, entrepreneurialism and resilience, to name a few. Next year we plan to invite schools in more London boroughs to take part in the competition, with the aim of making this a national event over the coming years.

Lord Clive Soley - Former Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal Chair
Henry Mcfarland (YSA 2018 Winner) with Dame Elizabeth Anionwu
Henry McFarland (YSA 2018 Winner) with his brother Hector as his source of inspiration
MST Trustees with our committed volunteers and ambassadors

The feedback from the participating schools has been encouraging, one teacher said: “Thank you so much for a wonderful evening - one neither the children nor the teachers will ever forget.

‘We’d love to take part again next year.”

The success of this year’s competition has been possible due to the support of many, and we would like to thank, Guy's and St Thomas’ Charity

Our patrons:

Lord Clive Soley

Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

Our judges:

Eli Anderson

Jessica Barnes

Ben Green

Debbie Hoyte

Leah Charles-King

Special Thanks to:

The Mayor Of Lambeth, Cllr Wellbelove

The House of Lords team

Jada Katie Marsh

Jude Swaby

Rio Sterling

Our Baton Holders:

Moore Blatch Solicitors

Partners in Costs

Photo file

Diversity in Leadership Programme

The Trust will aim to build an alliance between private and public sector organisations with a particular emphasis on supporting the NHS. MST will organise a ‘round table’ event to explore and share best practice in developing diversity in leadership initiatives, both in terms of identifying the issues and looking at successful outcomes. This work will be carried out in collaboration with NHS England, in recognition of the significant BME health service workforce and their concerns.

Partnership with the military is a core element of the Trust’s programmes, promoting Mary Seacole’s links with nursing and the military.

Website Redesign

We're currently redeveloping our website. The new website will also serve as a gateway for those across all generations to access information about Mary’s life and legacy, browse relevant news articles and keep up to date with activities associated with the Trust’s programmes. When the new website is ready, we'll let you know

Nursing Times Workforce Summit and Awards (October 2018)

MST is pleased to be the 2018 charity partner for the brand new Nursing Times Workforce Summit and Awards. The event aims to highlight important discussions and showcase innovation in workforce planning and management that will contribute to sustaining a workforce fit for the future. A sustainable nursing and midwifery workforce is essential to ensuring the quality of services and protecting patient safety.

The summit will provide a national forum for those responsible for workforce planning, recruitment and retention. With unrivalled access to content that draws on expertise from strategic partners and real-life case studies from health and care settings, the programme will challenge, inspire and support organisations to attract and retain the best talent.

One of the award categories will highlight best diversity and inclusion practice. For more information visit their website and download the brochure below

'In conversation with' Lisa Rodrigues CBE

In 1973, aged 18, I joined the NHS. My first job was at a learning disability hospital. It was a backwater for vulnerable patients. And for staff, 50% of whom were black, Asian or from other ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds. Since its inception, the NHS has recruited internationally to meet staff shortages in less popular parts of the service. I made friends with nurses from Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

Three months later, I left my new friends to start nurse training at the prestigious Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street (GOS). Here, things were different. Of the 150 student nurses who started in 1973, all of us were female, most were middle-class, and everyone was white.

There were BAME staff at GOS. They worked in the kitchens and cleaned the wards. They served us in the canteen. There were a handful of black nursing assistants, and the occasional agency nurse. And there were black pupil nurses, doing a shorter, less academic course than ours, to eventually become State Enrolled Nurses, a second-class role which precluded them from promotion to becoming a staff nurse or sister.

This is not a criticism of my alma mater, by the way. Things were the same across most London teaching hospitals.

Forty one years later, we discovered that not much had changed. In March 2014, the year I retired from the NHS, Roger Kline published his excoriating Snowy White Peaks report. We learned that whilst 70% of the NHS workforce was female, and 20% BAME (30% BAME among nurses, and 40% BAME among doctors), the top of the NHS was almost totally white and predominantly male.

This stinks. It is institutional sexism and racism. I have written before about how Mary Seacole can help us challenge such shocking stigma and discrimination.

On Thursday 29 June 2016, 1 year minus a day since Mary’s beautiful statue was unveiled outside St Thomas’ Hospital, we launched the Mary Seacole Trust at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. Our aim is to use Mary’s legacy – compassion, creativity, dynamism, entrepreneurship and most of all, never giving up – to inspire people of all ages to achieve their best in whatever walk of life they choose.

But when I was asked by our chair, Trevor Sterling (who left school at 16, yet is now a renowned lawyer and partner in a prestigious law firm plus one of the funniest, nicest and most effective people I have ever met) if I would be the new charity’s vice chair, I had to think hard. I felt the need to challenge myself about whether such an honour was deserved. I have had my share of difficult experiences, but I have not experienced racism. White people like me must take care to avoid cultural misappropriation. We must watch our privilege.

So I talked to my BAME friends, including some of the other trustees. And they said this. They reminded me that we are all members of the human race, brothers and sisters under the skin. And they welcomed my support because making sure everyone achieves their best is not just their fight. It is our fight.

So I said yes. I promise them and all of you to use my talents, such as they are, plus my experience and connections to help inspire people of all ages to achieve their best, based on merit, passion and hard work. Not what school they went to, who their parents were or the colour of their skin.

Just like Mary Seacole. Mary fought many fights. She never gave up. And nor shall we.
MST would like to say a huge thanks to all our members, baton holders and sponsors.
MST Trustees

Trevor Sterling (Chair)

Lisa Rodrigues CBE (Vice Chair)

Karen Bonner

Roxanne St Clair

Jean Gray

Colonel David Bates

Raf Alam

Mark Douglas

Jermaine Sterling

Steve Marsh (Secretary)

Life Patrons: Lord Clive Soley & Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

President: Dawn Hill CBE

This is our first quarterly newsletter for members and supporters. We hope you've enjoyed it. Please send comments and ideas for articles to contact@maryseacoletrust.org.uk.

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