Carlisle's The Cumberland Building Society has recently launched its Neurodiversity Toolkit.

The toolkit is a guide developed to provide its colleagues with comprehensive knowledge about neurodiversity and the challenges faced by neurodiverse individuals in the workplace and everyday life.

Neurodiversity encompasses conditions such as autism spectrum condition (ASC) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Abbie Curzon, a People and Culture colleague at The Cumberland, spearheaded the toolkit initiative, underlining the building society’s dedication to support its employees.

Ms Curzon, who is neurodiverse herself said: “I’m really pleased that we are launching this toolkit to help people from across the business understand neurodiverse conditions more and to show our neurodiverse colleagues that we are committed to supporting them in any way that they need.

“I wasn’t diagnosed with autism until my late teens as neurodiversity awareness at the time was very low. Even when staff at school first started to recognise signs that I may be living with a neurodiverse condition, it took about two years to get a diagnosis.

“I hope that this toolkit, and the other support systems that we’ve put in place, will help to educate people on what neurodiversity is and how it may affect their colleagues, friends and family so that they are better placed to be able to properly support them.”

The toolkit encompasses real-life experiences of neurodiverse colleagues, information on the strength and challenges of neurodiverse conditions, and the advantages of neurodiversity in the office.

It also offers resources and guidance on disclosing neurodivergent conditions within the workplace.

It will be rolled out through company-wide training sessions, webinars and events held at head office and branch level.

The Cumberland collaborated with Owl Blue, a Cumbrian charity that works with neurodiverse individuals and their families, on the development of the toolkit.

Nichola McDougall, charity manager at Owl Blue said: “I am absolutely delighted that businesses like The Cumberland are taking neurodiversity so seriously and look forward to continuing to work with them to support with the roll out of this incredibly important toolkit.

“Underpinning any neurodiversity strategy is understanding, acceptance and kindness. As a society we are getting better at recognising neurodiverse conditions, but there is still an education piece for people to understand it better and how best to support those living with it.”

The toolkit is seen as a pathway to challenge outdated attitudes, stimulate discussion around neurodiversity, and provide a platform for future training in association with Owl Blue.

Jill Johnston, Chief People Officer at The Cumberland said: “At the Cumberland, our Kinder Banking purpose highlights our commitment to looking after our employees, our customers and our communities.

“We pride ourselves on colleague well-being and put this at the forefront as we continue to create and embed a culture where people feel proud to work and a place where we can be our authentic selves.

“The talents that neurodivergent people can bring to the workforce are too valuable to miss.

"In an ever-changing and growing world, we need to accept, include, and involve all people in life and work. This is good for us as a business as we can be more competitive in the market as we have a more diverse and inclusive workforce with wider talents."