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  • Writer's picturePositive Allies

University of Sunderland Renews its Commitment to the Positive Allies Charter Mark

As a founder member and original accrediting organisation, the University of Sunderland has been a supporter of the Positive Allies Charter Mark since its original conception. Now, five years later, they have continuously renewed their commitment to maintaining the charter mark, recently gaining re-approval after submitting their annual review.

As Justine Gillespie, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, states:

"The University of Sunderland has been a Positive Allies Charter Mark holder for over 5 years and are proud of being the first University to receive this award. This is a recognition of our commitment to creating an inclusive environment where everyone with HIV feels safe, respected, and valued in our community."

The Positive Allies Charter Mark is a benchmarking tool that assesses an organisation's commitment to promoting and supporting equality and inclusion for those living with HIV. As Justine goes onto say:

"We became a positive Allies Charter Mark holder as we believe that every individual deserves the opportunity to thrive in the workplace, regardless of their HIV status. Embracing inclusivity and diversity fosters a culture of respect and understanding, leading to greater productivity and a more fulfilling work environment for all."

In fact, the University of Sunderland helped us to develop the very HIV policy that is now used by the Positive Allies Charter Mark, as the the benchmark example for other organisations.

As a long-term Positive Allies Charter Mark holder, the University of Sunderland have made a number of commitments to support staff. These commitments include providing the HIV and AIDS Awareness training for staff and students, reviewing their policies and procedures to ensure they are inclusive, and promoting positive role models throughout their staff teams.

During National HIV Testing Week, they aimed to raise awareness of regular testing by being visible on campus, distributing leaflets, displaying posters along with creating an all staff communication about how testing helps reduce the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV and those diagnosed late. The University of Sunderland have also established an awareness raising session with Russell Cutler on his personal lived experience of living with HIV.

As Justine says:

"Achieving the Positive Allies Charter Mark is a significant achievement for the University of Sunderland, and we are delighted to be recognized for our commitment to promoting equality and inclusion. We will continue to work hard to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and valued, and we hope to inspire others to do the same."

The University of Sunderland were the first university to gain the Positive Allies Charter Mark, and were instrumental in bringing it to life. Let's all stamp out HIV-related stigma in all places of employment and volunteering. Could your university be next?

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