Published 22nd June 2018

Our response to Lord Adebowale’s Third Sector article ‘It’s not diversity of skin colour that really matters – it’s diversity of thought.’

In his recent article for Third Sector magazine, Lord Abedowale was right to identify a “striking absence of diversity” in the leadership of many third sector organisations and Community Organisers Ltd is conscious that our leadership should always reflect the individuals that make up our membership, including people some of the most deprived communities in England.  We are proud to have a diverse leadership team in our Board, which is elected every two years by the whole membership.  Of the current eight Board members there are five women, including one from a BAME background, and we hope to build on this diversity at the Board elections later this month.

More significantly, we believe that our Board is socially, culturally, and geographically representative of our diverse membership, enabling the “diversity of thought” Lord Abedowale describes.  COLtd’s work is focused in some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities and because our Board members have direct experience of living and working at the grassroots level in these communities they can use this experience to ensure our long term decision-making is rooted in the neighbourhoods and individuals the organisation is made up of.

The current Board’s attitude to diversity of thought was best summed up by Board Member Sona Mahtani:  “We want directors with experience of working in a poorer area that is not well-resourced as these people have first-hand experience of how communities can be very imaginative with what little they’ve got.