Salvation Army centres in Victoria receive Rainbow Tick
By KIRRALEE NICOLLE
For the past several years, The Salvation Army has been on a journey of inclusion. This has included the launch of the Reconciliation Action Plan in December 2020 and the release of the Inclusion Statement in July 2021.
When Salvation Army mission delivery centres in Victoria recently received Rainbow Tick accreditation, it demonstrated a commitment to fostering a welcoming and safe environment for the LGBTIQ community.
The Rainbow Tick is a form of accreditation that serves as a framework for organisations to demonstrate that they are safe and inclusive for the LGBTIQ community, according to Rainbow Health Victoria. A total of 35 Salvation Army centres across Victoria received the three-year accreditation on 12 May, including Territorial Headquarters in Blackburn.
This accomplishment was largely due to the work of the Head of Social Mission, Major Jenny Begent, and her team.
Jenny said this was vital as many Salvation Army staff and clients identified as LGBTIQ.
“We wanted the Rainbow Tick because we want to be inclusive,” she said. “We want to provide safe spaces,” she said.
Jenny said the team was very grateful for the assistance of chief secretary Colonel Winsome Merrett, who had assisted in the discussion process with Rainbow Health Victoria.
“The Salvation Army has always been about the marginalised,” Jenny said. “This is a group of people who are marginalised, and so we want to be able to provide the best possible service to those people, and not just a service, but a place to belong.”
The Salvation Army’s Upton Road Youth Service was Australia’s first faith-based charitable service delivery centre to receive Rainbow Tick Accreditation in 2019. Upton Road client services coordinator Brittany Williams said the team saw it as vital to be an inclusive space, especially due to the demographic of clients they regularly encountered.
The Rainbow Tick accreditation is just one demonstration of The Salvation Army’s efforts towards greater safety for all. The Salvation Army’s other recent move towards inclusion for all was to announce public support for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament as a social justice response.