Cultural Competency – Diverse Cymru’s Certification Scheme

The current issues around the pandemic and Black Live Matters have further highlighted the urgent and pressing need to tackle through practical actions the disparities faced by BAME groups across all aspects of public life. This need has been highlighted and identified by the recent report from the  First Ministers advisory group which  highlighted throughout its report the need for action on improving cultural competency and limiting the impact of unconscious bias as a means of improving outcomes for the BAME community in Wales, and  that would help contribute to the elimination of the continuing racial and ethnic disparities that continue to exist for BAME communities in Wales.


In seeking to address practical ongoing actions in dealing with the acknowledged and identified inequity faced by BAME people on a day-to-day basis, which is often due to a lack of understanding and knowledge of different cultures, and the impact of the unconscious bias that we all possess. In providing a positive way forward, Diverse Cymru developed and designed a unique cultural competency initiative, which is the first of its kind in Europe, called the BAME Cultural Competency Workplace Good Practice Certification Scheme.

This initiative seeks to improve the outcomes for BAME individuals in the services they receive based on scheme participants undertaking practical, achievable actions in order to achieve an accredited cultural competency certification. The scheme was launched on the 11 October 2018, by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, and is endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales.  The initiative provides training, tools and resources to help practitioners towards providing a culturally appropriate service that importantly will help them assess and measure year on year the competency of the services provided. Specifically, the Certification Scheme will:

  • Proactively address any cultural or unconscious bias issues recognising the importance of addressing these issues, to make a practical positive ongoing difference in the workplace environment and the services provided. This to be achieved through the provision of awareness raising, practical assistance, guidance, and advice to participants to help them deliver excellent culturally sensitive services.
  • Use an evidence-based approach that focuses on supporting participants to effectively meet and respond to the needs of their culturally diverse workforce / service users in a resource efficient and cost-effective manner.
  • Provide participants with relevant techniques and interventions to incrementally help participants to work towards providing an effective practical culturally appropriate work environment and as a consequence the delivery of culturally competent services, and certification and recognition of progress through an evidence- based certification award process, verified by our scheme development partners, the accrediting body, United Kingdom Investors in Equality and Diversity ( UKIED).

Since its launch in 2018 the Scheme has gone from strength to strength and has participants from all seven health boards in Wales, Public Health Wales and five third sector organisations – Mind Cymru,  Hafal, Mental Health Matters Wales, New Horizons and Swansea Council for Voluntary Services.

Importantly, as part of its importance and adaptability the scheme has now been:

  • Included in the latest WAG Mental Health Delivery Plan for the next 3 years
  • Included as an integral part of the Public Health Wales Quality Improvement Cymru Toolkit for Health Boards
  • Expanded and adapted to help improve cultural competency in a much wider range of service areas such as HR functions, Substance misuse services, Dementia services, local authority services, and private sector SMEs in Wales. Importantly the scheme has also attracted attention from outside of Wales including Universities in England and the Mental Health Reform groups in the Republic of Ireland”

Find out more about the scheme by clicking here and viewing the pages on the BAME Mental Health Cultural Competence Certification Scheme.


The BAME Mental Health Cultural Competence Certification Scheme was designed and developed in Wales, it is a unique in its practical evidence based structure and approach, using an incremental workplace development approach to making actual ongoing cultural competency improvements, with regards to workplace; Environment & Management Commitment,  Community Communication and Consultation, Cultural Competency awareness, Equality Professional Development  and  Community Engagement and Outcome Monitoring.  

The scheme is funded as part of the Diverse Cymru funding within the 2018-2021 Section 64 funding received from Welsh Government, as part of a 3 year pilot to improve mental health service provision to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME/BAME[1]) groups in Wale, with the specific objective of:

“Ensuring the Cultural Competency of mental health services in Wales, from April 2018, Diverse Cymru (DC) will roll out a targeted campaign, and support Mental Health, Health and social Care services in Wales to seek our Cultural Competency Certification, in collaboration with the United Kingdom Investor in Equality and Diversity (UKIED). Organisations will work with DC and UKIED to assess their current status, making adjustments and introducing mental health awareness training to staff”. As identified in the Diverse Cymru website (

[1] Black Minority Ethnic (BME) or Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME): – Used to refer to non-white members of the community in the UK, for the purpose of the certification process, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) includes, Roma, Irish, Travellers and Eastern Europeans for example

The Life of a Carer: experiences of caring and the aftermath

Bethan kindly agreed to talk with Diverse Cymru about her experiences as a Carer and what life has been like after caring. In this piece, Bethan’s lived experiences will be drawn upon, much of which has been felt by many Carers. This piece highlights what needs to be improved for Carers and draws on best practice from life after Caring.

Bethan’s experience as a Carer

Caring for Bethan began as a gradual process. She started caring for her mum part time when she was in her 20s alongside her job. Then, after some time “something had to give” and Bethan gave up her job to become a full time Carer for her mum. Her mum was battling cancer and suffering from Dementia towards the end of her life. Life was very lonely as a Carer. After some time caring, she hired night sitters. Bethan commented that her night sitters were the “only social being” in her life, with little contact with friends and family. She found it tough, she felt that there was not always the help that she needed and she invested a lot of her life and emotions into caring for her mum. Bethan commented that as a Carer, “you do lose your individuality” and that “your life is put on hold”.

In our discussions she detailed many difficulties of being a Carer. In particular, she has highlighted issues with lack of adequate support, insufficient care packages and the lack of specialist dementia training, both for health and social care staff and for herself. A lot of these issues could be resolved, making life for Carers slightly easier.

Experiences with staff

Bethan recalls the experience of taking her mum to hospital after her she had a fall. She found that ambulance staff were unable to detect her mother’s dementia, as was the same with hospital staff. As a result, they were not aware of what would make her mother agitated and failed to understand her mother’s confusion and actions. This lack of training and lack of communication with Bethan had detrimental effects. This caused great lack of understanding, leading to Bethan being wrongly kept in Cardiff Bay police station overnight under safeguard and being unable to see her mum for 3 weeks. Bethan was cleared of this but has found it difficult to overcome emotionally. Bethan was close with her mum so found the time away from her very distressing. She felt that had these staff members been trained and confident with the signs of dementia, and if the communication had been better between her and staff to work out why her mother was agitated, this incident could have been avoided.

A lack of training amongst staff

During our discussions, Bethan spoke about the importance of choosing the right care agency, as she found that her first choice included some care staff that were not dementia trained. She found some instances where the lack of training provided to the care staff had an impact on her mother’s behaviour once the care staff had left.

She also found a lot of problems with the lack of dementia training given to her social worker which resulted in a lack of sensitive treatment towards her mother. Therefore, Bethan feels strongly that not enough is being done with the Councils and supports the work currently being carried out by Carers Trust who are looking to provide social workers with appropriate training.

Support Provisions

During our discussion, Bethan referenced the lack of support as a Carer and noted that support should have been available to her from the start. She found that she was having to do a lot on her own without any help, including physio exercises, contacting care agencies, collecting medication and fighting to get her mum discharged from the hospital. Bethan found help in services from the British Legion but commented that these services were taken away from her as soon as her mum died. She referenced the clear importance of charities such as Carers Wales and Carers UK, as well as the need for the promotion of support groups from the beginning and provisions for specialist training in relation to dementia.

“I didn’t have the support, even to the end, almost end of life. Very limited. The [older persons] commissioner wants to know about things that are happening. I know it is changing now but it is all too late for me. It is hugely important that they [Carers] get the right support from the beginning… Nobody told me about Carers Wales or Carers UK. Nobody told me about those things.”

Charities such as Carers Wales and Carers UK were praised by Bethan, but the key point raised was the lack of awareness and promotion given to these services, as she didn’t know about them until after she was caring.

Bethan noted that positive changes are being made in terms of support services. Nevertheless, the issue has not been resolved, with Bethan noting that from her current work in various groups, she has heard that lack of support is still a problem. Therefore, Bethan suggested that greater support provision was needed to help Carers, as this would have helped her when she was caring.

Care Packages

One of the major issues Bethan found with support was the lack of support given to her in the care package provided by the Council. She was having to run the house and care for her mum most of the time and described caring as being on a train, with no time for herself. She cared for 40 days and 40 nights without support, with the need for respite only being mentioned once she contacted the crisis team:

“I phoned the doctor, I was not sleeping, I was not eating, I was all over the place. They brought the crisis team in, within 2 hours they were here, they phoned the GP and said “she needs respite.””

Additionally, Bethan found that there were limits to what the care staff could and could not do, as referenced in the care package. This meant that she still had to do a lot of jobs on her own with little support:

“I was having to do her stoma and the one girl that came who was a very experienced carer and had done the training, but once again it wasn’t in the care package, so I was doing her stoma.”

Bethan also found that care staff would be willing to help with her workload, by assisting with cleaning and other housework, but were prohibited from doing so as it wasn’t in the care package. Bethan detailed how she had to care for her mum whilst maintaining the house and making sure they had enough food to eat. This presents a clear barrier to easing the heavy workload on Carers. Therefore, she feels that the right specialists need to be involved when care packages commence.

A lack of specialist training for Carers

Bethan also detailed the lack of training given to her around dementia, which again made her feel unsupported.

 “I thought at the beginning, and I know a lot more, when they said that my mum had dementia that they would get me support for the Alzheimer’s but I had to find that out for myself.”

Bethan was left to struggle without support or assessments for 20 years. Bethan detailed her journey to finally get training that she needed, but it was a hard and stressful process. She eventually undertook a Carers assessment around 3 months before her mother’s death. However, she was told that she had to complete the dementia training sessions in her respite time. This was supposed to be time for Bethan to collect herself and re-energise, but this was taken away from her. This experience demonstrates a clear issue that needs to be addressed.

The points discussed above were the main barriers to being a Carer in the community. These discussions highlight some clear areas that need to be changed to help and support Carers.

Life after Caring

One of the most important things stressed by Bethan was that just because your caring responsibilities end, that doesn’t mean that everything resumes as normal. She commented that “the battles don’t stop.” Bethan was heavily impacted emotionally by her mother’s death. She commented that there was nothing in place afterwards to help her afterwards and suggested that there should be something like an end of care review where Carers are assessed for any support that they need, be this emotional or financial.


Issues with finances

The financial hit that Bethan has taken after caring is perhaps an underestimated side effect. She spoke about the issues with Universal Credit and how it is not enough to live on. She detailed how she has had to improvise with budgets and make some tough financial decisions, going without some necessities in order to buy food. “An advance on your Universal Credit payments may be given at the beginning,” she said, “but then it has to be paid off,” which has eaten into the money she has received. From this money, Bethan was having to make arrangements for her mother’s funeral. She found that some companies were not sympathetic to financial constraints, stating that there is a lack of a “human level” to these services.

Best Practice- The Value of Third Sector services

Despite life after caring being a struggle, she has found great comfort in Carers Cuppas set up by Carers UK and Carers Wales.

“Thank god for Carers Wales and Carers UK, they are actually organising the cuppas now so that people can vent and talk to people.”

Thus, the work of third sector organisations such as these are of value and demonstrate how Carers can be supported.

Best Practice- Involving people with lived experiences

Bethan detailed that she always thought that her life could return to some normality and she would get a job after caring. She applied for a care job, but found this was not the avenue she wanted to go down. However, she found a real love for getting involved in the community. Just some of the things that Bethan is involved in include: Working on the Recovery Plan with the sub-group partnership board; working with the mental health Recovery College, assisting representative consultation work and developing online courses; working with the Dementia lead group; being a member of the Carers panel; and attending Carers Cuppa UK and Carers Wales meetings. She felt that this involvement has had a real positive effect on her life and said that people with experiences like hers should be involved in more engagement events. Her involvement demonstrates the value in collaboration and consultation with those who have lived experiences that they can share. For example, Bethan is helping to develop a sleep course for the mental health recovery college. Thus, processes such as these are really important in order to generate change.

Carers in Lockdown

Potential issues for Carers

Given the current coronavirus pandemic, Bethan raised issues on what this means for many Carers. One of the major issues raised was burnout. Bethan commented that if Carers weren’t not getting the breaks they needed before the pandemic, this is only likely to have worsened, leading to exhaustion. Carers are also missing the day centre provisions which gave them an opportunity to re-energise. She commented that the Welsh Government and local authorities need to look at how they are going to get extra support to Carers during the recovery period. Other Carers are unable to receive the support they need, such as dieticians for dementia and Carers’ assessments. Bethan suggested that there needs to be greater consideration of new ways of working, through phone calls and video calls, to alleviate this impact.

Bethan also highlighted the impact that current supermarket provisions have. During her time as a Carer, Bethan detailed that some weeks she would only have 20 minutes to do a food shop. Therefore, the delays associated with supermarkets currently fail to meet the needs of some Carers. However, Bethan spoke of the importance of volunteers in this context, as they could provide Carers and their families with basic supplies, saving them time, but also ensuring that Carers are not overexposed to the pandemic.

Positives to draw from the pandemic

Nevertheless, she also discussed some positives from the pandemic. In particular, the virtual meetings are, to an extent, more inclusive. For example, the Virtual Carers Cuppas can now take place in the comfort of your own home, meaning that many Carers can now enjoy this social outlet whilst caring for loved ones.                                                             

Conclusions and key points

Our discussions with Bethan have been very informative in gaining insight into life as a Carer, and has raised some key issues that need to be addressed. In light of these conversations, recommendations include:

  • Ensuring that staff who may come into contact with people with Dementia receive Dementia training so that services and treatments can meet the needs of the individual and their Carer.
  • Councils need to collaborate with Carers Trust to ensure that staff, particularly those in social services, receive adequate training in different areas so that Carers and those they care for can be assigned a suitable social worker.
  • Ensuring that Carers receive support from the beginning. This includes through adequate training, promotion of third sector support services and time allotted for respite. Importantly, respite needs to be used for just that- a rest for Carers.
  • The Third Sector is clearly valuable in supporting Carers. The work of organisations such as Carers UK and Carers Wales need to be promoted so that their work can reach more Carers.

Nevertheless, once the Caring is over, normal life does not resume. It is clear that support is needed afterwards. There are steps that can be taken provide this:

  • Provide and end of caring review to ensure that Carers have the support that they need, whether this is emotional or financial.
  • It is clear that financial difficulties among many Carers who feel that they are starting again need to be addressed.

Further, Bethan’s story highlights the importance of engagement, collaboration and co-production with those who have lived experiences. The contribution of those with lived experiences is invaluable to influencing positive change.

Socio-Economic Duty | March 31st 2021

We’re really glad to see the socio-economic duty coming into force from the Welsh Government on March 31st 2021. We’ve pulled together an info-graphic if you want to get a grasp on what it all means!

The Socio-economic duty – a Diverse Cymru fact-sheet.

What is it? 

Considering outcomes of decisions

The duty asks public authorities (laid out below) to consider how decisions may increase or decrease socio-economic inequalities. It will come into force on the 31st March 2021.

Who does it apply to?

Those who satisfy the test set out in section 2(6) of the Equality Act. 

– The Welsh Ministers – Special health authorities
– A local authority – A fire and rescue authority
– A local health board – A national park authority
– An NHS trust – Welsh revenue authority

What should happen in practice?

Fairer decision-making

The overall aim of it is to make decision-making more fair by understanding the views and needs of the people impacted by a decision, by consulting and engaging actively with those people, and taking account of that, alongside evidence. 

Why is it important?

The duty aims to tackle a problem.

There’s a clear link between socio-economic disadvantage and inequality. The socio-economic duty hopefully means the bodies mentioned above can do things differently, and reduce poverty in Wales. 

Direct Payments during Lock-down

Lock-down has been difficult for everyone. Maybe not being able to see the people you love, or not being able to get outside as much as you are used to. These things are hard, if you are furloughed there may be worries about your work, and if you are working you may be adjusting to working from home. We also know lock-down has been really hard for our Direct Payments service users. Lock-down has shown how important our amazing carers and front-line workers are. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has washed over Wales, but even during this, so many have stepped up and helped others. A Direct Payments service user gave this feedback:

Since being in receipt of Direct Payments the whole quality of my life has improved for the better.  The service provides the flexibility to suit the nature and changes of my disability. My Personal Assistants are a breath of fresh air, and I feel I am amongst friends. During these difficult times, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak I’ve been attended to seven days a week by my dedicated P.As  with never a call missed.  Over and above their normal duties these wonderful people have, without me asking, shopped for me, baked cakes for me and uplifted my mood by telephoning  between visits to make sure I’m coping with the restrictions on daily life that have been in place since March. 

My living advisor Chris and the ladies in the Carmarthen Office are always on the end of the phone to offer support and answer any queries  that I may have regarding the service.

Their Personal Assistant had this to say:

 I’m so glad I became a Personal Assistant. As a P.A. I’m not just a carer I am a multi skilled professional doing a sometimes difficult but always rewarding job. I’ve met amazing families to whom I’m not just a carer, I’m their friend. They’ve  been fantastic employers to me and appreciated the work that I do on their behalf.

Thank You

We just want to say a huge thank you to our Independent Living Advisors, and the brilliant Personal Assistants we work with. The work you do is amazing, and makes people’s lives more fulfilling!

Extra information

If you want to get in touch with us regarding this story, you can email us at

We’re hiring! Check out our vacancies page here.

Summer Edition – Mental Health Recovery Newsletter

We’re happy to share our Spring/ Summer edition of our Black Minority Ethnic Mental Health Recovery Project Newsletter. There has been some challenging times with the pandemic (COVID 19), and we have had to change the way we work and move to a more virtual world.

Have a look inside the Summer Edition of Black Minority Ethnic Mental Health Recovery Newsletter, where you will find interesting conversations, activities and lots of useful information.

You can view our mental health resources page here.

New funding for Advocacy Services – Cardiff

Diverse Cymru are delighted to announce a temporary expansion of non-statutory, community advocacy services into Cardiff, having successfully applied to the WCVA Voluntary Services Emergency Fund to work directly with communities in need.

We will support a second qualified Independent Advocate, working with our advocacy manager, to support some of the most vulnerable disabled residents, initially with a phone, email and digital support service. This will provide people in Cardiff with advocacy services specialising in benefits for disabled people (PIP, DLA, ESA), and will include support on other areas such as health and access to services, promoting social inclusion, equality and social justice.

Advocacy Manager Dawn Ashton, said:

“We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to WCVA to fund a new Advocate to work in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan for the next 6 months. This will enable us to increase our support service capacity, and providing increased advocacy services for residents.”

Diverse Cymru has extensive experience in delivering Advocacy services, having delivered our current advocacy service with the Vale of Glamorgan for over 7 years. Our advocacy work has recently been awarded the Advocacy Quality Performance Mark, and our advocacy services are delivered in line with the advocacy charter.

In 2018/19:

  • 100% of service users were satisfied with Diverse Cymru’s service;
  • 83% of service users are financially better off following the work Diverse Cymru has done on their behalf;
  • 74% of service users have received an award or benefit they were not previously receiving; and
  • 100% of service users would recommend Diverse Cymru to others.

When restrictions are eased, we intend to widen this service, and implement a face-to-face drop-in service at our Cardiff office, in addition to the telephone, digital and email service, and our current service for Vale of Glamorgan residents. This project will support disabled adults (including people with mobility, sensory, mental health and learning impairments, and long-term health conditions) living in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan (aged 16+).

This service will open upon recruitment of a second Independent Advocate, as a non-statutory service for disabled residents of Cardiff and the Vale (16+), specialising in benefits for disabled people. For more information, get in touch at

To apply for the role of Independent Advocate, see our vacancies page.

Note to editors

For media enquiries please contact:

Joe Stockley at | +44 (0)75 1625 9801

For more information please contact:

Diverse Cymru is a pan-Wales equality and diversity charity – working to ensure equality for all. Diverse Cymru’s vision is to help create a nation without prejudice or discrimination, where every person is equal and diversity is celebrated, and our mission is to eliminate discrimination and inequality.

Audio of article – 3:02.

Black Lives Matter | Diverse Cymru Statement

Diverse Cymru stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter movements in Wales, the UK and internationally.

The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in the USA and the large scale protests across Wales and the UK demonstrate that there is still widespread systemic racism, discrimination and injustice not just in the USA, but in this country too.

As an equality organisation it is this discrimination and injustice that we seek to tackle every day. Numerous studies have detailed that there are significant mental health, health and justice inequalities for Black and minority ethnic people. We work tirelessly to improve mental health services for Black and minority ethnic people. This takes several forms: the campaigning work that we do at the highest level, our one to one BME mental health recovery support programmes, and our young people’s engagement project Hype Cymru. Finally, through the Diverse Cymru Good Practice Workplace Certification Scheme we are helping to provide culturally appropriate mental health services that make a practical ongoing positive difference to people of colour in Wales.

As an organisation we work to ensure that our staff and the people who use our services are treated fairly and with dignity and respect. Black Lives Matter, and deserve more than mattering. Black Lives deserve support, care, attention and parity. We are keen to ensure that when the hashtag drops out of the public consciousness, a commitment to systemically changing approaches to people of colour continues.

Note to editors

For media enquiries please contact:
Joe Stockley at | +44 (0)75 1625 9801

For inquiry related queries please contact:

Diverse Cymru is a pan-Wales equality and diversity charity – working to ensure equality for all. Diverse Cymru’s vision is to help create a nation without prejudice or discrimination, where every person is equal and diversity is celebrated, and our mission is to eliminate discrimination and inequality. 

Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on diverse people in Wales | Survey

Diverse Cymru would like to know how the Coronavirus crisis has impacted on people from diverse backgrounds with this survey. As a cross-equality charity in Wales, we are looking at how the current crisis is affecting the whole range of diverse people. We are also looking at impacts on people with more than one protected characteristic.

In this survey, you will be able to share your views and concerns on how Coronavirus and responses to it have affected you and share any solutions you think could help.

We will use your experiences to develop our responses and evidence to the UK and Welsh Governments and other public sector organisations on the issues people are experiencing and what organisations need to do.


Please complete this survey by 30th June 2020 at the latest.
If you can return this survey earlier please do so. Diverse Cymru are currently contributing to a number of consultations, inquiries, and calls from the media.

How can I return my survey

You can complete this survey online by clicking on this link:

You can return the here by email to

Or by post: Diverse Cymru, 307-315 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF5 1JD

If you need any help or support to complete the survey, please contact us by:

Phone: 02920 368888           Email:

Post: Diverse Cymru, 307-315 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF5 1JD

Please note that postal enquiries may be delayed due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.

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