Following redundancy, during a global pandemic, two North East entrepreneurs have set up a new social enterprise dedicated to improving workplace inclusivity. 

With start-up advice and support from Business Gateshead and the North East BIC, this was an opportunity to pursue their passion to ensure all employees feel included and valued. 

With a personal commitment to this agenda and the skills that saw them elevate their previous employer to the top spot on the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, co-founders Lucy Malarkey and Karen Faulkner set up ‘Positive About Inclusion’ at the start of 2021. 

Positive About Inclusion is an equality, diversity and inclusion consultancy delivering bespoke solutions to support organisations on their inclusion journey. Through their diversity and inclusion consultancy services they work with businesses to identify tailor-made interventions. They already have a growing portfolio of clients in both the public and private sectors. 

With employers having to adapt to new ways of working they identified a gap in the marketplace, firmly believing that this had become even more important with many people working remotely and juggling caring responsibilities. 

Today (1 February) marks the start of LGBT+ history month, and this new social enterprise is using this opportunity to celebrate business success post redundancy and renewed optimism about the future of inclusive workplaces. Not just for the LGBT+ community, but for everyone. 

Lucy Malarkey, Positive About Inclusion Co-founder said:

“2020 saw a step change for inclusivity with the tragic murder of George Floyd prompting the resurgence of the international Black Lives Matter movement. For the first time society witnessed the power of consumer consciousness as the public challenged organisations to prove their credentials as a force for good. Not just wanting organisations to say that they were inclusive, but to demonstrate it visibly and actively.

“Already 2021 is maintaining the pace of change. Brexit and ever evolving Covid-19 challenges are highlighting inequalities that have historically divided rather than united. Positive About Inclusion, works collaboratively for the good of all, supporting organisations as a trusted advisor to help them navigate the path to inclusivity. 

“After facing redundancy last year and an uncertain future, we are both delighted to be playing our part in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces in the North East and beyond.” 

Fellow Director, Karen Faulkner added:

“Redundancy wasn’t easy but the support we have had has been fantastic. I would urge anyone in a similar situation to access the business support available in the North East and make your dreams a reality.

“Workplace inclusion is more important now than ever before, remote working for many of us can be a real challenge, both in terms of mental wellbeing and employee engagement. We believe that now is the time for organisations to focus their efforts on inclusivity and diversity and the companies that do this are reaping the benefits. Diversity still matters during COVID-19 and will always matter.”

For more information about Positive About Inclusion visit https://positiveaboutinclusion.com/