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Diversity and equality networks – University of Reading

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Diversity and equality networks

We currently have four diversity networks helping to support and promote diversity and inclusion at Reading, in addition to our Health, Advocacy, Respect and Care (HARC) Adviser Network.

We encourage anyone who's interested in starting a new network to contact one of our Diversity and Inclusion Deans.

STaff DisAbility Network

Launched in 2017, the Staff Disability Network is an inclusive support network for all staff with a range of disabilities, impairments and / or mental health conditions, as well as non-disabled staff with an interest in disability issues.

The core principle of the network is one of equality. The network aims to promote an increased influence within the University of Reading, to make our community more inclusive to all staff members. We aim to give the disabled a voice in the University, to provide a consultation group on matters such as management, HR and building works, to inspire culture change and raise awareness, and to develop a network of allies across the University.

The Staff Disability Network, co-chaired by Charlie Williams and Jason Green (0118 378 7388), works closely with the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Simon Chandler-Wilde. For more information and to join the group please contact

LGBT Plus network

Launched in 2014, LGBT Plus is an inclusive staff support network for individuals identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, as well as other sexual and gender identities, and their allies. LGBT Plus has a social and representative function, ensuring that new and established members of staff across the University feel supported by a visible and informal staff network.

The network hosts a series of annual events for colleagues who identify as LGBT Plus, as well as being involved in events for non-LGBT colleagues, to raise awareness of the issues for the LGBT Plus community. LGBT Plus is also working with the Harassment and HARC adviser teams to provide support and advice to staff who experience homophobic, biphobic or transphobic incidents.

The LGBT Plus network, led by Deb Heighes and Calvin Smith, works closely with the Deans for Diversity and Inclusion (Ellie Highwood and Simon Chandler-Wilde) and the Diversity and Inclusion Advisor (Yasmin Ahmed).

Our activities contribute to Reading's ambition to embed equality and diversity across the University and we are fully supported by the Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell who is the Champion for sexual orientation and gender identity. We welcome suggestions at any time for LGBT Plus events and activities. 

​Become an LGBT Plus Ally

LGBT ally postcardOur biggest current initiative is developing a network of allies across the University. An LGBT Plus Ally is someone who doesn't identify as LGBT and believes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people should experience full equality.





To learn more about the LGBT Plus Network, please read our terms of reference.

If you would like to join LGBT Plus, have any ideas or enquiries, then please contact the network co-chairs Calvin Smith and Deb Heighes.

You can also keep in touch with us by:

Cultural Diversity Group

Following a number of focus groups with BAME staff, we launched our Cultural Diversity Group in December 2016.

This is a group for anyone interested in issues around race, ethnicity and culture and how they might affect staff and students.

We are organising a number of seminars, networking events and online discussions.

For more information please email Ellie Highwood.

Women@Reading network

The Women@Reading staff network champions issues of gender equality across the University.

Working with University leadership and supported by People Development in HR, the network aims to:

  • move towards achieving gender balance in all staff groups
  • achieve parity among academic staff (including the professoriate) and in all leadership roles
  • work towards equality of opportunity and pay in all areas, and have committees that are gender balanced.

The Women@Reading network is co-ordinated by a small committee that provides direction, builds awareness, organises events and communicates with University leadership, primarily through the Deans for Diversity and Inclusion and the UEB gender champion. The committee is chaired by Dr Claire Collins, an Associate Professor in Henley Business School.

All Women@Reading events are open to all staff, and are advertised on the Staff Portal and in In Brief. To find out more information or to join the network's email distribution list, contact Susan Thornton.

HARC Advisers

The University of Reading strives to foster a positive work environment where staff feel supported. The Health, Advocacy, Respect and Care (HARC) Adviser Network of staff volunteers provides informal and confidential peer-to-peer support to staff at the University who feel they need someone to talk to but are unable to approach a colleague or line manager. For example, this could be someone who may feel anxious or stressed, or are new to the University and unsure where to turn for advice.

Advisers do not and cannot offer counselling. Their role is a supportive one, where they offer to listen to concerns and signpost colleagues to support and resources available in the University.

For more information, please visit the University's Supporting You pages.

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