LGBT rights celebrated across Cheshire

Public service bodies recognised for efforts in creating an inclusive environment

Cheshire East Council is supporting LGBT History Month by flying the rainbow flag throughout the whole of February at its three main council buildings in Sandbach, Crewe and Macclesfield.

The focus of this year’s LGBT History Month is ‘Geography: mapping the world’.

Mark Palethorpe, acting executive director of people and chair of the Cheshire East Council’s equality and diversity group, commented: “Raising the flag for a month is an important commitment to make but we realise that there is much more that needs to be achieved.

“Our aim is to make equality and diversity an integral part of the way the council works and promoting LGBT history month is just one way we are doing this.”

He said: “We want to promote equality and diversity, valuing everyone and improving public services.”

“We want Cheshire East to be a place where everyone has a fair chance, free from discrimination and be able to participate in their community.

As well as this initiative, Cheshire West and Chester Council has been recently named in Stonewall’s top 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) friendly organisations for the second year.

Cheshire West and Chester Council takes part in Stonewall’s annual Workplace Equality Index, which assesses public, private and third sector organisations across the UK, including some of the largest and most successful firms in the world.

Cllr Paul Donovan, the council’s cabinet member for democracy and workforce, said: “We are delighted to be further recognised for our work on equality and diversity.

“This reflects a great deal of hard work by our elected members and staff who are committed to ensuring that all colleagues feel able to be themselves at work and help to make our communities more inclusive.”

The council says its strengths include the highly successful allies programme, support from senior managers and elected members, additional staff training, effective partnership work and changes to a range of policies and procedures.

Visibility has also increased, including an extensive presence at community events such as Chester Pride.

Councillor Stewart Gardiner, equality and diversity champion for Cheshire East, added: “I was also pleased to see that our partners Cheshire Fire and Rescue and Cheshire Police feature at number four and number 26 respectively in a recent list of the top 100 employers achieving acceptance without exception for LGBT people.”

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