Celebrating Black History Month 2022

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South-West Staff Stories – David’s story

David Corbin, Equality Diversity and Inclusion and Workforce Race Equality Lead for the South West, shares his story with us below.

You can also watch a video of when David spoke to Patient Voices about his family’s experiences in the UK and how they never gave in, despite the reception they received.

A bit about David’s role in the South-West

My role is to support all the health organisations to meet the projects and deadlines set by the National EDI Team. I’ve become a point of contact for dealing with any issues and sharing best practice. I’m linked to networks across the region, and also on a national level.

I’ve been working in EDI since 2003 and in the NHS since 2008, in a number of different roles.

I really enjoy making positive changes and trying to improve the experiences of our staff in the NHS, and also the experiences of patients, carers and families who access our services. ​​​​​​​   

I’ve met some amazing people in this role and worked on projects that have made a huge difference for individuals and communities.

I applied for this role because I could see that there was a changing and developing landscape focused on EDI and tackling health inequalities and was partially driven by the murder of George Floyd and the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people and communities who were already vulnerable.

I’ve always prided myself as someone who would step up to the plate when things get tough and I thought I had the skills to be able to make a difference.    

David’s background

I was born in London, and I‘m very proud to be the son of the Windrush Generation. My parents came from Barbados in the 1950’s. Growing up in Tottenham, London wasn’t easy as an Arsenal supporter but even harder being black. 

I had difficulties in School as I’m left-handed and Dyslexic, the attitude of the Police and ‘stop and search’ meant that most of my teenage years were punctuated with Police interventions and also being a victim and a witness to some quite brutal Police activity.

Many of my friends turned to lives of crime and I chose to make the decision to leave London and joined the British Army aged 17½. Initially, for three years, that very quickly turned into 30 years. It was while I was still serving at the Army School of Recruiting in 2003 that I was invited to be trained as an Equality and Diversity Advisor. I’d already been quite vocal about the treatment of Women, Ethnic Minorities and the LGBT+ community in the Army, so it felt like a natural progression.

After leaving the Army in 2006 I worked at Weymouth college as the Equality and Diversity Advisor and focused my time working on their Disability Equality Scheme and in-house Equality and Diversity Training. This was a very successful time as I ended up as a College Governor. My mum would have been proud.

I joined the NHS in 2008 when an opportunity arose. I’d been working in partnership with all the EDI Leads in Dorset and thought it was a way to widen my skills and knowledge. I was with Dorset Healthcare for 12 amazing years.  

During this time so much had changed around the EDI agenda but as well as a focus internally I also had a role to play in community engagement – working with and supporting diverse communities, even supporting the introduction of Dorset Mental Health Forum and working with South West Dorset Multicultural Network.

I’m currently a Director for Dorset Football association and share my working knowledge of EDI to support many of the Footballing programmes. I’m also a Director for Encompass, a supported living charity in Dorset, for people with learning disabilities and/or mental health.

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