Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that Heathrow have been awarded #Big Promise solution Trailblazer status!


Race Equality Matters’ #Big Promise is a commitment to action, and not just words. The Solution calls for individuals make a public commitment that is measurable, and they are held accountable in order to create positive change. In a 2022 poll, 78% of respondents said the Big Promise will help make race Equality Everyone’s business and 69% said it will have an impact on race equality in their organisation.

Chesterfield’s implementation of the Big Promise demonstrated an innovative approach to ensuring all colleagues could get involved. Panellists felt that the organisation demonstrated that The Big Promise was an authentic commitment and their application exhibited many measures to ensure it was communicated widely and strongly. They showed commitment and dedication and a true energy for change and panellists praised their employment of SMART objectives to achieve their goals and felt it was ‘praiseworthy.’ 100% of panellists felt action had been taken and 85.7% voted for them to receive the status.


The Big Promise


For Chesterfield NHS Trust, in their Race Equality and Cultural Inclusion Network (RECI), a recurring theme in discussion was that although a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion was part of their organisational landscape, it tended to reside within a sub-section of our HR department.


Network members felt strongly that conversations about race equality were too rare amongst the workforce and that colleagues, overall, tended to avoid it or feel under-confident, lacking in knowledge, or uncomfortable. A further insight was that although the leadership of the organisation expressed support for race equality, that commitment was not as visible as it could be and there were opportunities for a more impactful approach. While they publicise their commitments to race equality in nationally mandated, publicly available reports, there was scope for more individualised commitments and a greater emphasis on personal commitments to drive forward progress.



While members of their RECI were working with their HR Director and other members of the organisation to develop an Anti-Racism Strategy. The Network felt they needed to adopt a solution that would inspire wider engagement within the organisation to increase knowledge commitment and endorsement of equality diversity and inclusion and they decided the Big Promise offered just that. They felt that making individual commitments would be empowering both for change-makers and those who wanted to make small steps and give everyone an idea of how to contribute whatever their level in the organisation and they found this was a very successful approach.




The Big Promise information was shared via email to their RECI and other staff networks, their Leadership Assembly, trust-wide internal communications, external social media from RECI and Trust EDI accounts and shared on the staff Facebook page.


The Communications Team helped make a video with the co-chairs of the RECI Network and Directors of HR and Nursing. This was communicated internally. In addition to this The 5-Day challenge was added to the “Aspire” -learning management system to increase access for staff across the Trust. They secured the Big Promises of senior leaders to help publicise the events and encourage engagement. Big Promise images were attached to email addresses and they advertised the contact details of several key people who could advise teams on how to take part.


In a busy acute hospital Trust, they know that a lot of staff do not access emails so holding a series of in person events helped them to engage with colleagues who tend to get missed. They also printed out copies of the 5-Day challenge for those who hold in-person huddles for teams who do not have access to computers.


Due to some colleagues within the trust having limited time to engage and some not directly available to engage via their role or schedule. During Race Equality Week, they held a stall over several days in the main reception area, inviting colleagues and members of the public to talk to them about REW and their Anti-Racism Strategy. They had conversations with over 60 members of staff and many more took information away with them. They printed out and laminated the Big Promises so colleagues could hold these up for a photo opportunity which we then promoted on social media. This was in addition to colleagues using the Race Equality Matters function to create their own Big Promise template


The stall was held in front of a 75” flat screen on which we showed visual images of the Big Promises made by various staff over a 2-week period and refreshed these as more colleagues made their pledges.




Two immediate impacts from Big Promise were securing buy-in and a sense of personal responsibility in terms of race equality and visibility. Increasing their colleagues understanding that race equality is everyone’s business and that responsibility for change does not solely rest with HR practitioners. They have shared that this helped with increasing engagement. Feedback from Network members was that too often people did not feel comfortable enough to raise issues of race equality and racism and widely publicising Big Promise has helped Chesterfield start to shift that culture. Big Promise has helped them to form our multi-year Anti-Racism Strategy and be able to hold themselves and each other to account in making sure change happens through consistent effort.


Although Chesterfield could not identify the exact reach of the campaign the Trust employs just under 5000 staff and serves a community of 400,000. By placing the Big Promise front and central in the Trust, they created a positive statement and an opportunity to meaningfully engage with their colleagues and members of the public about tackling race equality together.



Panellists felt expressed a consensus that there was compelling evidence of impact, motivation, and both internal and external engagement. They praised the implementation of the Big Promise initiative as a highly collaborative effort, noting the exceptional use of communication channels such as the internal communications and social media. By actively involving the HR team and network lead, the initiative achieved remarkable results, allowing space to create strong communication and impactful outcomes.


Their implementation of the initiative represents a real drive for inclusivity and diversity and serves as an outstanding method for engaging colleagues in discussions about race equality. Panellists shared the Chesterfields implementation of the Big Promise reflects innovative thinking and demonstrates a genuine commitment to inclusivity by reaching out to colleagues and community members, particularly those who may not typically engage with computers or online communications at work.


Follow Chesterfield’s Lead: Become a Trailblazer


If your organisation is driving change for race equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnic background employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of Trailblazers on our website.

Skip to content