National praise for Cumberland’s neurodiversity work

Published on
19 April 2024

The Cumberland has gained national recognition for its work on neurodiversity.

A team from the building society attended the 2024 British HR Awards in London on Tuesday where they received Highly Commended in the Financial Services Company of the Year category.

The award recognises The Cumberland’s work creating a guide for employees called the Neurodiversity Toolkit, which aims to promote understanding and support for those with conditions such as autism spectrum condition and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Louise Blake, Head of People at The Cumberland, said: “We’re delighted to receive this recognition and be highly commended for our focus on neurodiversity.

“We’re very proud of everyone who has been involved in this work, in particular Abbie Curzon, People Coordinator, whose passion continues to make a real difference in opening up conversations around this important subject.

“Our team continues to look for opportunities to build an inclusive culture where everyone feels they belong.

“It is recognition too for Owl Blue, the charity who have supported us on this journey and continue to help us as we embed the work further.”

The toolkit includes stories from neurodiverse colleagues, strengths and challenges of neurodiverse conditions and benefits to the workplace, signposting to resources, and guidance on disclosing neurodiverse conditions.

It was launched last year with support from Owl Blue, the Cumbrian charity which works with neurodiverse people and their families. The charity also conducted neurodiversity training at The Cumberland.

One of the Cumberland team who travelled to the awards ceremony was its Development Manager Sean Turney who has had personal experience of the support given by Owl Blue.

“The Cumberland has invested heavily in the wellbeing of its workforce,” Sean said. “My understanding of neurodiversity has improved significantly through our training workshops with Owl Blue.

“Now everything in my life makes much more sense, and it is thought that I am autistic.

“The reaction and support from my family, friends and colleagues at The Cumberland has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve quickly learned to embrace it and I now feel empowered to help others.”

The British HR Awards celebrates organisations which are passionate about delivering a world-class experience for their people.

There were more than 300 entries this year from startups to the public sector, to global companies, which meant even selection as a finalist was tough to achieve.

The evening was hosted by comedian Fiona Allen and the awards were judged by a panel of leading HR professionals including Louise Benford, chief people officer at The AA and Helen Tindle, HR Director Iceland Foods.