Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist & Inclusion Policy

Tortworth Forest Centre CIC is committed to dismantling oppression and bias affecting marginalised communities through intentional listening, learning and community building work. We acknowledge the impact of oppression on our trees and people, and are taking steps to ensure equitable and inclusive activities, services and practices for marginalised communities.

As a exotic botanical collection, our arboretum has a hidden past rooted in colonial violence and cultural appropriation which we have a responsibility to acknowledge. When we tell the stories of our trees, we are committed to honouring the communities in which they originated with sensitivity.

Alongside this, we value the intersectional diversity and different lived experiences that our staff, volunteers, participants and visitors bring to our organisation, including:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Gender expression & identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion & belief systems
  • Family structure
  • Cognitive & physical abilities
  • Socioeconomic status

We will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, bullying, victimisation or abuse of individuals or communities, including staff, volunteers, participants or visitors. We recognise that not all forms of discrimination are the subject of legislation. We work proactively to improve equity of opportunity and to combat any unreasonable or unfair treatment which places people at a disadvantage for any reasons not directly related to their ability to engage with this organisation.

We acknowledge and understand that our staff team hold varying levels of privilege and together we commit to understanding and disrupting internalised/externalised bias through continuous (un)learning around systemic oppression to nurture and empower individuals in an inclusive and supportive environment. 

We will take the following actions and welcome conversations with anyone who is interested in learning with us along this journey.

  • We will review our staff and volunteer recruitment process to reach a wider audience that is representative of the communities we serve.
  • We will engage with regular staff training to support our continued learning and reflection.
  • We will acknowledge and honour indigenous cultures and practices which inspire woodland activities (e.g. nature connection activities such as Mandalas)
  • We will design and deliver a clear business plan that has involved the voices of stakeholders from staff, volunteers, local people and diverse communities in the area.
  • We will review this policy annually as we learn and reflect through our practice.

Equal Opportunities

Tortworth Forest Centre recognises that some users of its services may, because of their past or present distress or illness, say or do things which would otherwise be unacceptable and incompatible with Tortworth Forest Centre Equal Opportunities Policy. Tortworth Forest Centre will do all it can to challenge such behaviour. In cases where intervention is possible a gentle approach will be adopted which aims to alter attitudes and behaviour while maintaining support for the distressed client.

Tortworth Forest Centre reserves the right to open its membership to any organisation who supports our aims and objectives. However, it will exclude from membership those organisations that actively work against the development of an equal opportunities policy over time, despite encouragement from Tortworth Forest Centre.

Tortworth Forest Centre realises that a genuine commitment to equal opportunities must operate on all levels:

Tortworth Forest Centre will prevent unfavourable treatment, directly or indirectly, upon individuals from any group facing discrimination in its recruitment and deployment of human resources.  Where discrimination does occur, it will be dealt with through the agreed procedures.  This will be achieved by following the Tortworth Forest Centre Equal Opportunities Policy.

Tortworth Forest Centre will seek to prevent discrimination and ensure equal representation in the services it provides, the structures that it facilitates and the practice through which it carries out its work. This involves the development of greater diversity in the board of Directors, leadership team and freelancers, to ensure a genuinely wide representation.


The board of Tortworth Forest Centre has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy. However, all volunteers and service users have a duty as part of their involvement with Tortworth Forest Centre to do everything they can to ensure that the policy works in practice. Those responsible for recruiting volunteers to work in Tortworth Forest Centre projects are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of Tortworth Forest Centre Opportunities Policy and adhere to it while working as Tortworth Forest Centre volunteers.

Tortworth Forest Centre will bring to the attention of all volunteers and service users the existence of this policy, and will provide such training as is necessary to ensure that the policy is effective and that everyone is aware of it.

If any service user or volunteer feels that they have been, or are being discriminated against, in any way, they are entitled to pursue the matter with the board. All instances or complaints of discriminatory behaviour will be treated seriously. Complaints or allegations of an unfounded or malicious nature will also be treated as serious.

Disabled Access

Tortworth Forest Centre will endeavour to ensure, as far as is practicable, that the woodland is accessible, but recognises that it is a woodland restoration project and as such, the terrain and the nature of woodlands means that it will not be accessible to everyone. When considering new events and works in the arboretum, access will be considered at every stage of planning, including seeking funding for ramps, accessible pathways and accessible facilities.

Use of Language

Volunteers and service users should avoid and challenge the use of language which, in any way, belittles anyone

Where the language used has a personal impact on others, and it has been made clear to the person concerned that their use of such language is unwelcome and/or offensive, disciplinary action may be taken if they persist with it.

All materials used or developed by Tortworth Forest Centre will be judged in the light of the promotion of equal opportunities, and those considered to be discriminatory will not be used.

Sexual Harassment

No volunteer or service user should be subject to sexual harassment. This is interpreted as unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature including verbal sexual abuse, physical contact and repeated remarks which an individual finds offensive.

If it has been made clear to the person concerned that their behaviour is unwelcome and they persist with it, then the service user or volunteer who is the recipient of the behaviour will be entitled to make a formal complaint.


We support the rehabilitation of all people who have committed criminal offences in their recent or distant past. We recognise that once a conviction is spent, the offender is regarded as rehabilitated. We aim to strike a balance between fairness and non-discrimination, and maintaining a safe environment for all staff, freelancers, volunteers, project participants and visitors to our site.

As such and in order to minimise risk to staff, freelancers, volunteers, project participants and visitors to our site, especially during sessions with children or vulnerable adults – we may decline to employ, or register as participants, people who have committed offences detailed on the DBS list of offences that will not be filtered from a DBS check (which includes violent offences and offences towards children).  

Our Ex-Offenders Policy details how we ask people to disclose information relating to unspent criminal convictions.  All information is gathered in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Monitoring and Review

The Policy will be constantly reviewed by the management committee to ensure that no Member of the group is put to a disadvantage either, directly or indirectly.  This monitoring will apply to the practices of staff and volunteers, the member organisation, the composition of the Committees and the provision of services.

It is the responsibility of every individual to eliminate discrimination and to ensure the practical application of this Policy.