Shumel Rahman and Perry White press the button to turn the building red

NEAS turns headquarters red to show racism the red card

NEAS was joined by local celebrities and anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card to mark Wear Red Day

As the region’s 999 health advisors take calls for people in emergency, life threatening situations, local celebrities joined Show Racism the Red Card and North East Ambulance Service to turn the ambulance headquarters in Newcastle RED as a commitment to stamp out racism.

Sunderland football legend, Kevin Ball, star of Emmerdale, Billy Elliot, and Byker Grove Charlie Hardwick, and Newcastle United Women’s Team’s Charlotte Potts were among the famous faces joining Ged Grebby, founder and CEO of Show Racism the Red Card, and North East Ambulance Service CEO Helen Ray in turning the building red.

Chief executive of North East Ambulance Service, Helen Ray, said, “As a regional NHS provider and a large employer in the region, it is important that patients know that they will be treated appropriately by our colleagues, and that they will be free from discrimination and hate. We want patients to feel safe, be aware of our commitment to being an anti-racist organisation and encourage people from all backgrounds to access our services. 

“It’s also important that colleagues in our workplace see our visible commitment to tackle all forms of discrimination, harassment and hate in the workplace. We need to be clear about the standards of behaviour we expect and communicate them. We want this to continue, if people are able to come to work and be their authentic self, they are happier, more productive and we can retain more people in our workplace.

“We strive to build and nurture a culture where inclusiveness and difference is valued, and we support and celebrate the diverse voices of our employees. We’ve encouraged the creation of a variety of employee network groups who help us to recognise the challenges and make improvements. 

“We believe diversity drives innovation, that when people feel respected and included, they can be more creative and successful which helps to connect us closer to our patients and the communities we serve.”

As the region’s provider of emergency ambulance services, North East Ambulance Service cares for thousands of residents each year and as an NHS employer of around 3,000 people, was keen to show its support for the campaign.

Ged Grebby, founder & CEO Show Racism the Red Card explains, “Show Racism the Red Card organised its first ever “Wear Red Day” 8 years ago when due to UK Government cuts we were forced to appeal to the public to keep our anti-racism education work going. This year’s WRD is a massive show of strength for the work we do and we are proud to have the public supporting our antiracism message.  Last year’s WRD money was used to do more in-depth work with young people and we again pledge that every penny raised will be used to combat racism through education. 

“Thanks to all organisations throughout the UK taking part and making a stand against racism. The reason Wear Red Day has grown is because organisations like the North East Ambulance Service have taken it seriously. We support the NHS and the work the ambulance service does, so it means a huge amount to us to have the support of NEAS.”

Charlotte Potts said: “Racism happens in society, not just in football, and it’s important that businesses like the ambulance service get involved. 

 “It all comes from education. You have to be able to learn the subject to be able to challenge perceptions and understand your own biases. We need to tackle racism as a society and not just in football.”

 Charlie Hardwick added: “It’s vital that people are aware that we’re all showing racism the red card. To wear red together means we’re all in it together and are all determined to stamp out racism.” 

The event was organised thanks to North East Ambulance Service’s Together@NEAS staff network group. Chair of the network, Shumel Rahmen, pressed the button to turn the building red.

Show Racism the Red Card is an anti-racism educational charity aiming to combat racism through enabling role models, who are predominately but not exclusively footballers, to present an anti-racist message to young people and others.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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