AIREDALE NHS Foundation Trust's finance team has won a national award.

Team members have been recognised in the National Healthcare Finance Awards for their "outstanding" diversity and inclusion work.

The coveted awards programme is organised by the National Healthcare Financial Management Association.

During the past 18 months, three 'diversity ambassadors' – among the first of their kind in the sector – have been working to make improvements across the Airedale trust.

Measures have included spotlighting the benefits of including diverse opinions in decision making, proactive recruitment, creating apprenticeships and shadowing opportunities and making conversations about diversity and inclusion the norm.

A spokesperson said: "The team has also set a list of objectives to maintain and improve its diversity position for years to come, which includes engaging with schools and colleges to raise awareness of careers in finance in the NHS and attracting more of our local population to the team. And it is committed to understanding how financial information and training is accessible to all – it has started work with the trust’s disability network to understand this in more detail and adjust products as needed."

Judges described the team as "passionate" and said it showed "real commitment to the agenda".

Amy Whitaker, director of finance at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said she was "exceptionally proud" of the team's success in the awards.

She added: "We are now known for our diversity and inclusion agenda and hopefully this award will amplify that.

"Diversity and inclusion is at the core of our work and is a key part of our future strategy for the team and trust.

"We value all our people by promoting a positive and inclusive culture and working environment that allows everyone to thrive and flourish."

Farida Khawaja, the deputy director of finance, said: "We are really proud of the work we’re doing.

"I feel it has put Airedale on the map and we are attracting really good-calibre candidates, because it is such a great place to work. The reason I like working here is because of the inclusive culture – it’s really empowering when you join just how warm and welcoming everyone is. That’s been one of the successes of the diversity and inclusion work and I’m excited about what we’re doing next.

"We’ve already been approached by different trusts to learn from what we’ve done and we are sharing our success stories with other finance organisations."