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The Cumberland Building Society launches neurodiversity toolkit to support colleagues and their families

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Carlisle-based building society The Cumberland has this week launched its Neurodiversity Toolkit, a guide which aims to help inform colleagues about neurodiversity and the unique challenges that neurodiverse people face in the workplace and in their day-to-day lives.

Neurodiversity refers to the diversity of all people and how they experience and interact with the world. Some conditions that fall under the neurodiversity umbrella include, autism spectrum condition (ASC) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The toolkit, spearheaded by Abbie Curzon, a People & Culture colleague at The Cumberland who is neurodiverse herself, is an important pillar in the business’ commitment to its people.

Abbie said:

“I’m really pleased that we are launching this toolkit to help people from across the business understand neurodiverse conditions more and to show our neurodiverse colleagues that we are committed to supporting them in any way that they need.

“I wasn’t diagnosed with autism until my late teens as neurodiversity awareness at the time was very low. Even when staff at school first started to recognise signs that I may be living with a neurodiverse condition, it took about two years to get a diagnosis.”

She concluded: “I hope that this toolkit, and the other support systems that we’ve put in place, will help to educate people on what neurodiversity is and how it may affect their colleagues, friends and family so that they are better placed to be able to properly support them.”

The toolkit includes stories of neurodiverse colleagues, the strengths and challenges of neurodiverse conditions, the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace and, also signposts colleagues to helpful resources and offers guidance on disclosing neurodivergent conditions within the workplace. It will be rolled out through company-wide training sessions, webinars and events held at head office and branch level.

Owl Blue, a Cumbria-based charity which works with neurodiverse people and their families, as well as working closely with businesses in the area on their neurodiversity policies, supported Abbie and the P&C team at The Cumberland on creating the toolkit.

The charity has been working with the Cumberland for the past year, conducting neurodiversity training and offering 1-to-1 drop-in sessions for colleagues to discuss any issue relating to neurodiversity, whether that be themselves or a friend or family member.

Nichola McDougall, Charity Manager at Owl Blue said:

“I am absolutely delighted that businesses like The Cumberland are taking neurodiversity so seriously and look forward to continuing to work with them to support with the roll out of this incredibly important toolkit.

“Underpinning any neurodiversity strategy is understanding, acceptance and kindness. As a society we are getting better at recognising neurodiverse conditions, but there is still an education piece for people to understand it better and how best to support those living with it.”

Jill Johnston, Chief People Officer at The Cumberland said:

“At the Cumberland, our Kinder Banking purpose highlights our commitment to looking after our employees, our customers and our communities. Everyone will have family members, friends or colleagues that are neurodivergent, and we want to ensure that all colleagues feel supported and included during their time with us.

“We pride ourselves on colleague well-being and put this at the forefront as we continue to create and embed a culture where people feel proud to work and a place where we can be our authentic selves. Our People & Culture team also work collaboratively with all areas of the business and so our CIO (Chief Information Officer) Ian Stacey will be sponsoring this particular focus for the business.”

She continued: “The talents that neurodivergent people can bring to the workforce are too valuable to miss. In an ever-changing and growing world, we need to accept, include, and involve all people in life and work. This is good for us as a business as we can be more competitive in the market as we have a more diverse and inclusive workforce with wider talents.

“Creating this toolkit allows us to help raise awareness and discussions around neurodiversity and helps to provide a platform for training with our connection to Owl Blue, creating a shift in outdated attitudes.”

For more information on The Cumberland’s commitment to its people, please visit here

For more information on Owl Blue, please visit here

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