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Francesca joins OneTeamOneOUH to support BAME staff

Reema D'Souza, Sam Foster, Francesca Ridley, Ariel Lanada and Lindley Nevers

A brand new role has been created to support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff working at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) - thanks to the support of NHS Charities Together.

Francesca Ridley has joined OUH as the Trust's new Wellbeing Lead for BAME staff following a successful grant application by Oxford Hospitals Charity.

Her new role has been welcomed by the OUH BAME Staff Network whose Chair, Ariel Lanada, a nurse who is a Divisional Lead for Practice Development and Education, said:

"We are extremely delighted to welcome Francesca to the OUH family. Working together, looking after the mental health and wellbeing of not only our BAME colleagues but everybody who works at OUH, has never been more important, especially at the height of this pandemic."

Reema D'Souza, Matron for Acute General Medicine and Co-Vice Chair of the OUH BAME Staff Network, added:

"We are excited to work with Francesca very closely. We are keen to support our staff with their emotional, psychological, and mental wellbeing. This role is key to reaching out to everyone who is struggling emotionally or mentally, or who want to support each other, so we can provide a network of staff to either seek support or to provide support."

Francesca, who has an academic background in Clinical Neuroscience and Occupational Psychology, previously worked in the private sector developing wellbeing programmes. She said:

"When I saw this new role at OUH come up, it really brought together a passion of mine to make sure wellbeing within organisations is as inclusive as possible, ensuring that marginalised groups feel supported and heard.

"I'm not BAME myself and don't have that lived experience, but I want to be a strong ally. What I do have is a drive to learn, understand as best I can, and speak up about the inequalities which our BAME colleagues can face every day, and have been highlighted even more so during the pandemic.

"I look forward to working with the BAME Staff Network and other colleagues to make OUH as inclusive as possible from a wellbeing perspective."

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at OUH and Executive Director sponsor of the OUH BAME Staff Network, said:

"We're really pleased to welcome Francesca to OUH. Staff wellbeing has never been more important than at this challenging and difficult time, and we look forward to working with her to continue to explore ways in which we can support our staff.

"We are constantly developing ways in which we can help our staff, while continuing to explore how we can be as inclusive and as far-reaching as possible."

Douglas Graham, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Hospitals Charity, added:

"We are delighted that NHS Charities Together has taken such a proactive lead in focusing on the communities which have been so disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

"The grant they are providing to Oxford Hospitals Charity is helping to fund a new role within OUH to find practical and innovative ways of supporting the physical and mental health of BAME staff.

"We hope this will create positive and lasting change during these extremely challenging times and long into the future."

Pictured: left to right, Reema D'Souza, Sam Foster, Francesca Ridley, Ariel Lanada and Lindley Nevers