Equality, diversity & inclusion

We work together with our people, residents, communities and our partners to build a culture where difference is celebrated and valued.

  • Pride Cropped

    Driving change

    We believe society as a whole must develop a fairer, more inclusive environment, in which diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities are embraced and celebrated.

    To create meaningful, long-lasting change in our workplace, communities and beyond, we encourage open and honest conversations with our people, our residents and partners.

    Supporting others is important to us. We give our people the knowledge and tools to feel equipped and confident to challenge racism, inequalities and discrimination at every turn.

  • Eastlight Just Being You March 2023 Grab 2 (1)

    Just Being You mentoring

    Our Just Being You mentoring programme shows us the barriers faced by a variety of protected groups. It also allows our people to hold us to account and ensure Eastlight remains an inclusive and accessible employer.

    Each mentor – an Eastlight staff member from any of the nine protected groups – is paired with a member of our Leadership Team or Board to help them understand the challenges they face. This helps our people positively influence or challenge ideas and misconceptions.

    These honest, open and transparent discussions help to shape our future, and inform how we make adjustments and improve.

“Diversity is about being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”—Verna Meyers

Our partnerships

We’re proud to have developed strong relationships with our strategic partners to ensure we actively address inequality, advocate for our residents at risk of or discrimination and deliver inclusive, accessible homes and communities.

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Eastlight is proud to be the Founding Partner of nationally renowned disability organisation, Purple. Our joint approach with Purple helps us to drive equality and accessibility for disabled people in the housing sector and beyond.

At Eastlight, we have committed to continuing our progressive work with Purple since our partnership began in 2020, by engaging with customers, partners and staff, with a clear focus on disability inclusion.

We work with a wide range of individuals with disabilities and complex needs. It is therefore imperative for us to create an accessible environment that supports our customers and people. Doing so, helps us to make a lasting impact and build a more inclusive society.

The Purple Tuesday is a global social movement is highlighted each year by a celebratory day – the first Tuesday of November – also known as Purple Tuesday.

Find out how Eastlight celebrated Purple Tuesday in 2023

See more about Purple and the work they do here.

We’re proud to have been awarded ‘Disability Confident Leader’ (Level 3) status – the highest level in the Government’s Disability Confident Employer scheme.

“I am very proud of Eastlight’s achievements through the Disability Confident scheme, due to our close work with Purple over the past few years. Our work with ECL has also been paramount in this achievement, and I’d like to thank them for supporting us every step of the way” (Hugo Drummond, Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion Manager).

Our levelling up included introducing a Neurodiverse Recruitment Programme, with the support of ECL, and enhancing our close partnership with disability organisation, Purple.

Progress on our disability inclusivity journey to date also includes:

  • Successfully completing the UK government’s Disability Confident status self-assessment
  • Taking all the core actions to become a Disability Confident Leader
  • Exploring additional actions that we can take to support our people through our Just Being You reverse-mentoring programme
  • Committing to encouraging job applications by offering an interview to candidates who declare they have a disability, if the person meets the minimum criteria for the role.
  • Aiming to support candidates by providing reasonable adjustments during their application process, where possible.

Looking to work for us? Click here to find out more and what support we can offer.

We remain committed to being the catalyst for significant change by having open conversations with all our staff and residents to level up the inequality between disabled and non-disabled people. We also continue to improve our services and ways of working so that we are an accessible, inclusive and leading employer for diversity.

That’s why we are working closely with ECL (Essex Cares) to change how we recruit, to ensure neurodivergent individuals are supported throughout their application and time at Eastlight.

As part of our partnership, we provide the following for individuals applying for roles through the Neurodiverse Recruitment Programme:

  • A ‘meet and greet’ before the interview stage to visit our headquarters, Eastlight House, and see what a typical working day looks like
  • An opportunity to meet the recruiting manager before the interview stage to find out more about the role
  • Additional adjustments throughout the recruitment process
  • An interview where the panel has been briefed on interviewing neurodivergent individuals, with the assistance of ECL
  • A dedicated support coach from ECL for the first six months of employment.

ECL provides high-quality social care services in Essex, London Borough of Havering and West Sussex, aimed at wellbeing, prevention and increasing independence. 

Find out more about ECL and the work they do here.

Championing equality, diversity and inclusion across the East of England and nationally is important to us.

Eastlight is involved with BuildEast, a partnership of housing associations working together to meet the needs and ambitions of the people and communities across the Eastern region.

Agreed in May 2021, the BuildEast Charter outlines our joint commitments for leaders, employers and landlords. As such, Vice Chair of BuildEast and our Chief Executive, Emma Palmer, is leading on raising awareness about the importance of collaboratively enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion efforts across the housing sector – regionally and nationally – in line with the National Housing Federation’s Code of Governance.

What will the charter achieve?

  • Increased knowledge and understanding across the region
  • More diversity in our workforces, apprenticeships/traineeships and Boards
  • Empowering people to mentor leaders to foster understanding on a wide range of lived experience – leading to improvements based on people’s differing needs.

Click here to learn more about BuildEast

Everyone has the right to a stable home, without prejudice or judgement, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

We recognise the challenges members of our LGBTQ+ communities face, and we are fiercely committed to enabling equal access to our housing and services for all.

 A HouseProud Pledge research study in 2022 showed that:

  • 20% of gay men changed their homes (e.g. moving pictures or books) to hide their sexual orientation from a visiting Repairs operative or Housing Officer
  • 60% of trans people do not feel safe in their neighbourhood.

The HouseProud pledge is a housing sector-wide response to the survey which produced these shocking statistics. The aim is to ensure that our residents from the LGBTQ+ community feel rightly safe, secure and free to express their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in their own home, free from fear or prejudice.

At Eastlight, we support HouseProud by working with involved LGBTQ+ residents and fostering positive relationships. We also actively encourage our people to ‘bring their whole selves to work’ through events, programmes and networking groups, so that they can ensure our customers’ housing needs are met.

We aim to achieve the HouseProud Pledge Pioneer accreditation by:

  • Ensuring LGBTQ+ customers have a voice at executive / strategic level within the housing sector
  • Increasing LGBTQ+ visibility in our workplace and communities
  • Initiating a programme of staff training to improve the lives of our staff members and residents from the LGBTQ+ community .

Click here to learn more about HouseProud.

By being a member of the social enterprise and membership organisation, Housing Diversity Network (HDN), Eastlight learns from and collaborates with like-minded partners in the housing sector who are equally committed to addressing inequality, maximising the potential of their workforce and catering to the diverse needs of the communities we all serve.

Click here to learn more about the Housing Diversity Network.


If you'd like to talk to us about partnering with us, please contact:

Hugo Drummond, Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion Manager

Hugo Drummond

Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion Manager
Email Hugo