My name is Derek Sankar, I am passionate about applying reflective practice and empowerment approaches to engage and work alongside highly excluded communities building sustainable, resilient, thriving organisations and collaborations.
I bring over 30 years of experience, developing and delivering services and training to challenge social injustice and exclusion, primarily working closely with highly excluded marginalised communities and more recently a diverse range of communities. I have supported whole organisational change including an NHS trust and large Academy to increase equity and build inclusive organisational cultures. I set up my non-profit to build collaboration and capacity with unfunded groups.
I’m most proud of my work at Advocacy Support where I co-produced the bilingual advocacy service working intensively with highly excluded ethnic minorities, refugee and migrant communities including Roma and other eastern European communities. With 2.6 paid posts and community volunteers, we supported 500 – 600 individuals per year, using 14+ hard to find community languages while meeting the Advocacy Quality Mark. We were at the forefront of bilingual advocacy in the UK.
I also led the Leeds Roma Health Needs assessment using trained supported Roma volunteers to engage with their community.
For £1000, I produced a financial inclusion snapshot, targeting those with little or no spoken English. In two weeks, we took 126, half-hour spoken surveys in 26 community languages shaping our services and influencing the city priorities.
My experience includes working as the Operations Manager and later Business Development Manager for Advonet, the Leeds provider statutory and community advocacy services. Involvement in the creation of the Stop Hate UK Helpline, a national Hate Crime reporting service and most recently returning to develop its Hate Crime and EDI training offers.
In 2015, I developed ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which caused profound life changes. It took me a while to learn to accept, but not submit. It gave me a new understanding of the importance of self-compassion, community, and connection. I am still learning to thrive with, as Maya Angelou said, “some passion, some compassion some humour and some style.”
I have two children (young adults) who have somehow managed to take on mine and their mum’s best characteristics and avoid the worst. I now sit back and watch in wonder as they take on world with their own style and passion.