On 05 Sep 2019, we launched our “Embracing Differences” Practical Guidance at our Annual Conference, with speakers including Yvonne Strachan CBE, Naomi McAuliffe and Mike Enston.

We also had a number of workshops, from organisations such as ENABLE Scotland, Forth Valley Rape Crisis, Kingdom Housing Association, Interfaith Scotland and Progress in Dialogue.


Yvonne has been a longstanding champion and campaigner for equality and social justice and a supporter and advocate of the third sector and social enterprise.

Until 2017 Yvonne was a Deputy Director in the Scottish Government, with overall responsibility for its work in advancing equality, human rights and the third sector.

Yvonne joined the Civil Service in 1999 as Head of Equality.  In 2011, she took on responsibilities for the Third Sector including social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, and, in 2012, her role included Human Rights.

Before joining the Civil Service, Yvonne was a senior trade union official and the first women’s organiser for the TGWU in Scotland.  She served on advisory groups to the Minister for State for Scotland and the Equal Opportunities Commission. She was an Executive member of the Constitutional Convention, Chair of the Scottish Convention of Women and member of the STUC Women’s Committee.  In those roles she played a leading role in pursuit of gender equality and in the campaign for 50:50 in the Scottish Parliament.

A former director of the leading social enterprise WISE group and Board member of Scottish Enterprise, Yvonne received an OBE in 1997 for services to industrial relations and equal opportunities and a CBE in 2015 for services to equality. In 2018 Yvonne was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the Glasgow Caledonian University.

Naomi is the Scotland Programme Director for Amnesty International. She has previously been the Priority Campaign Manager for Amnesty based in London for two of their Global campaigns; My Body My Rights on sexual and reproductive rights and the poverty and human rights programme which covered campaigns on maternal health, housing rights, Roma and Gypsy Traveller discrimination, corporate accountability and international financial institutions. Before that she started with Amnesty in the Scotland Office running the Stop Violence Against Women campaign for Scotland as well as working at various times on Respect Refugees, Control Arms, electro-shock Taser weapons, extraordinary rendition, Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender rights and the Death Penalty.

Naomi has a background in international and domestic health policy, Scottish parliamentary research, feminist and LGBT activism and used to write regularly for The Guardian’s Comment is Free. She is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Scotland Committee and was awarded “Rising Star” at the Scottish Women’s Awards 2018.

Michael Enston is Executive Director Communities at Fife Council with responsibility for Local Services, Housing Services, Community & Leisure Provision, Community Development and Customer Contact. 

Like many public servants his role carries a strong focus on developing different approaches to developing and sustaining services to communities while building greater capacity for problem solving and prevention through collaboration and new ways of working.  He has worked previously in Corporate Services and public policy roles with Fife Council, Kirkcaldy District, Edinburgh City and Lothian Region.


Workshop Title:  Creating a Trauma Informed, Safe & Welcoming, Intersectional service for women and girls

The workshop will share practice, learning and challenges from Forth Valley Rape Crisis centre’s work to maintain a woman only space in an All gender service and its efforts to create an intersectional service that caters to the needs of all survivors of sexual violence.

Lead Facilitator: Mridul Wadhwa is the manager of the Forth Valley Rape Crisis Centre. She has worked in the Violence Against Women and girls sector for over a decade mainly with Black Minority Ethnic women experiencing domestic abuse, Forced Marriage and so called crimes of Honour. She is a Trans woman and her activism is focussed on removing barriers to services for women with no recourse to public funds.

Workshop Title: Three Mottos for Understanding Discrimination and Conflict

Diversity takes a wide variety of visible and invisible forms – many more than those protected by law (race, age, disability etc). A group composed of people from many backgrounds and identities, with varied personalities, skills and perspectives, has many advantages. But such differences can also be a source of tension, misunderstanding and even hostility.
In this workshop, delegates will consider three models, each summarised by a brief motto, to guide our approach to working with diversity. They provide touchstones to aid empathy, give valuable insight on our interactions and, taken together, can greatly improve our ability to avoid and overcome conflict between groups.
We consider: why some people ignore or deny the discrimination that others experience; how to respond to misunderstandings or offence; and the impact of our inner narratives on our interactions.
Course topics:
• Identifying why we recognise the discrimination and prejudice our own group experiences but often overlook that experienced by others
• Separating intention from impact in communication
• Understanding the impact of a person’s life narrative on their responses in the moment

Workshop Leader:
For over six years, Jamie Spurway has been the Religious Equality Training Officer for Interfaith Scotland. Jamie has a great deal of experience to draw upon in this context. He has studied comparative religion and has also spent many years working as a tour guide throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Indian Subcontinent. In recent years Jamie has also worked extensively with refugee and other migrant communities here in Scotland. Jamie works part-time for Interfaith Scotland and is also a freelance coach and diversity trainer specialising in issues of refugees, race, religion, culture, and gender.

Workshop Title:
Taking Equality Considerations into Housing Decisions

 Workshop description:

This workshop will explore insights into managing conflicts in the housing sector by working through cases dealing with antisocial behaviour where equalities have been a factor. This will be an interactive workshop where participants will take part in groupwork to consider barriers, challenges and sound out possible solutions based on real world examples of conflicts. We will look at how to deal with those situations discuss the actual outcomes.

Workshop Facilitators:
The workshop will be lead by and Jackie Ritchie, Housing Management Team Leader for Kingdom Housing Association and supported by Carly Melrose Housing Officer and Ashley McKnight, Housing Assistant.

Workshop Title: Unauthorised encampment or Misunderstood Need – Progress in Dialogue.

Workshop Description:
The Gypsy/Traveller community is one of the most marginalised communities in Scotland, with a rich heritage and history in Fife. Much of the engagement between Gypsy/Traveller communities and the Settled community are through experiences of what is often termed ‘unauthorised encampments’.
The media portray Gypsy/Traveller camps as an ‘invasion’, ‘unwanted’ and a ‘burden’ – but is the picture truly this black and white? What if we could move towards a more nuanced thinking of needs and community dialogue? Perhaps the needs of Gypsy/Travellers and the needs of Settled people aren’t that far displaced?
This workshop will look at how communities can re-frame unauthorised encampments; positively manage conflict and ensure equality duties are delivered in partnership. We will look at effective tools which can be used, engagement approaches and knowledge-exchange through lived experiences.
Together we will explore how dialogue can get us to a progressive place in society, where conflicts are resolved, communities are supported, and equality becomes the everyday!

Workshop Leader:
Davie Donaldson is a Scottish Traveller advocate and Social justice campaigner. Using his lived experience, he supports government policy-makers at a local, national and international level to increase the inclusivity of policy towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller peoples. He supports Gypsy/Traveller families in everything from education, homelessness and planning permission; to hate crime and discrimination.
He was a key figure in the foundation of the Gypsy Traveller Youth Assembly of Scotland, is the Chair of Romano Lav in Glasgow and a current student of Social Anthropology and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen.
Using his platform he has spoken regularly around the country and in the media internationally about the discrimination faced by Traveller communities; all in the hope of building better community understanding and positive relations. He has a passion for empowering the voice of young Travellers, supporting them to conserve their history and promote their culture in a contemporary Scotland.
Davie’s work has its foundation in the core belief that social change comes one conversation at a time and that there is #ProgressinDialogue

Workshop title: Forum Theatre

Workshop description

The Forum Theatre approach was pioneered by Brazilian radical Augusto Boal. It consists of a play or scene, usually indicating some kind of oppression which is shown twice. During the replay, any member of the audience is encouraged to shout ‘Stop!’, and can change the situation to enable a different outcome. Several alternatives may be explored by different members of the audience. The actors improvise the responses. A facilitator is necessary to enable communication between the actors and the audience.

The strategy breaks down barriers between the actors and audience, putting them on an equal footing. It enables participants to try out courses of action which may apply to their everyday lives. Originally the technique was developed by Boal as a political tool for change (part of the Theatre of the Oppressed), but has been widely adapted for use in educational contexts.

Workshop leader bio
Gail Carstairs “We Can All Do It” Project Lead

I have twenty years experience of working in a special school and Additional Support Needs Dept. with children aged from 5 – 18. In 2016 I successfully completed my BA degree in Learning Difficulties/Disabilities prior to working for ENABLE Scotland on the SDS Project. I have been actively involved in voluntary work over the years working for both Contact Point and as a Citizen Advocate.

In my role I enjoy meeting lots of new people and I am always humbled to learn about their stories.

I enjoy stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing charity fund raising activities. I have recently completed a driving challenge where I gained a great buzz from driving a double decker bus, a tank, and an articulated lorry….not easy when you are fun sized! I have also completed a fire walk and annually I participate in Race for Life.

My personal outcome would be to continue challenging myself in my role and learn from my experiences to feel a sense of pride in helping other people.

Information stalls:

  • Al-Anon Family Groups
  • Clear Buckhaven
  • Dunfermline Advice Hub
  • EATS Rosyth
  • Fife Forum
  • Fife Interfaith Group
  • Fife Migrants Forum
  • LinkLiving
  • National Community Lottery Fund
  • Sexual Health Fife