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Loud and proud: Support for community diversity celebration events

Category: Employer Focus

Image of Loud and proud: Support for community diversity celebration events

Summer will soon be here and community focussed diversity celebration events will light up villages, towns and cities all over the UK. Whether it’s the annual Mela Festivals, celebrations of Asian culture, one of the 80+ lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) UK Pride events, or one of the many religious festivals, thousands of people will take to our streets, public spaces and in a few instances, car parks to enjoy the colourful celebrations.

It’s becoming more common for national and local businesses, and well-known brands, to support these events too. Supporting events that help make our communities more inclusive, and celebrate diversity, is a powerful demonstration of an organisations corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The visible support has lots of benefits, including:

  • Creating opportunities to bring all employees together to celebrate, often led by internal employee network groups. A fun day where people can get to know each other outside of the formalities of work, meet the family, and share lots of laughs - and be themselves
  • Authentic engagement with the communities the organisations serve and their own customers – and potential future customers. We’ve heard that some retailers have experienced their biggest ever trading days in some of their stores that visibly support their local Pride events on the day of the event
  • People who identify with the protected characteristics the events focus on and support are customers, employees or potential future recruits. Support will likely gain more loyalty and support with retaining and attracting employees and new customers for those organisations who are visible at the events. People will identify the brand/organisation as a supporter of diversity, inclusion and equality. They’ll feel more welcome
  • Corporate support for the events comes in many different forms, and isn’t just about money. Lots of community events benefit from bro-bono services, such as legal advice from Law firms, or support from employees of their supporters who volunteer their time to help make the event a success
  • Money makes the world go round as they say and it definitely makes the community events possible. Without financial support through sponsorship, or funds from stalls, parade entry fees and advertising, the likelihood is most of the events just wouldn’t happen. The support also helps keep lots of the events more accessible and keeps many of them free at the point of entry

Support for LGBT+ Pride events varies from Pride to Pride, with the events in the bigger cities such as London, Glasgow, Brighton and Manchester attracting support from hundreds of organisations, including some of the UK’s most well-known brands like EDF, Lloyds Banking Group, BBC, ITV, Sky and Nationwide. It’s often the presence of our local emergency services and Armed Forces that gives us the biggest smile, with their participants in full uniform, marching bands and pimped up Pride branded Fire engines (we’re looking at you Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service) and police cars. It’s always great seeing the friendly faces of the Surrey Police team at Brighton Pride.

It’s important that national businesses don’t forget that their employees and customers also live and work in more isolated areas, and that they show their support for Pride and other diversity events in these areas too – where homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, other prejudice and loneliness, is often an even bigger issue. Sadly, many of these smaller events struggle to attract the same level of corporate love. Initiatives like the newly formed UK Pride Network, that brings together Pride organisers from around the UK, will hopefully support the development and sustainability of the smaller Pride events – we’re hearing great things already.

Corporate support for Mela Festivals isn’t on the same scale as that of Pride events. Why is this the case? We’d love to know your thoughts on this subject – please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this article.

With the recent announcement that PwC, a leading global professional services firm, are a headline sponsor of this year’s Pride in London event (8th July), we’re putting the spotlight on some of our members who pull out all the stops to support Pride in London and other Pride events around the UK. Expect more articles like this as we continue to celebrate those organisations that are showing their pride this summer.

Tesco

The UK’s biggest retailer has an awesome award-winning employee LGBT+ network, OUT at Tesco. The network has driven Tesco’s presence at many Pride events in recent years, including Glasgow Pride, Manchester Pride, Cymru Pride (Cardiff), Brighton Pride and Pride in London. Adding authenticity to this support, employees and their friends and family are literally bursting with pride on their loud, and very proud, floats. Did you see (and hear) their supermarket disco? In 2015 and 2016 the network was behind their F&F clothing brand producing a special Pride t-shirt that was worn by their Pride volunteers and sold in lots of their stores (and online), with £1 from each sale being donated to the LGBT+ Switchboard charity. Did you know Tesco donates hundreds of packed lunches to the Pride in London volunteers each year?

Are you interested in a career with Tesco? Please click here.

Barclays

One of the most visible supporters of Pride events around the UK, and other LGBT+ events and initiatives, the bank has supported Pride events for over a decade. Over the years this has included support for Liverpool Pride, Pride in London, Birmingham Pride and Manchester Pride. Adding some extra sparkle to their support, you may have spotted the transformation of a number of their cash machines along the routes of Pride parades into ‘GAYTMs’ (rainbow flag branded ATMS). Showing innovation, they launched ‘Ping for Pride’ that allowed anyone with a bank account to donate to Pride in London via the Pingit payment app. Their employee LGBT+ network Spectrum is a real trailblazer in the financial sector – and they raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for diversity charities each year through fundraising events.

Are you interested in a career with Barclays? Please click here.

Transport for London (TfL)

OUTbound is TfL’s award-winning employee LGBT+ network. The network initiated the #RidewithPride campaign, which has seen a number of iconic vehicles redecorated with rainbow livery, to demonstrate strong support for the LGBT+ community. The end result was a #RidewithPride branded bus, taxi and train – you couldn’t miss them and you can even buy a mini Corgi model version of the bus. We were lucky enough to get our hands on one of their vibrant #RidewithPride branded oyster card holders - thanks OUTbound! The network also arranged and facilitated the training of around 1,000 Pride in London volunteers at their offices. It has also ensured TfL Travel Ambassadors have been deployed on the day of the parade to assist those attending, by providing travel information, as well as helping those that want to get around and shop on the day. The day before Pride in London they hold their annual Pride flag raising ceremony above their offices in Victoria and they also invite members of their bus operating companies to join them in their parade float.

Are you interested in a career with TfL? Please click here.

These are just a few examples of authentic support for Pride events, where the support isn’t simply just writing a cheque and attaching their brand to the event, but where employees and customers are encouraged to get involved and support the important celebrations and where the organisations go the extra mile to support diversity, inclusion, acceptance and equality.

Here are some Pride event dates for your calendar:

  • 24th-26th January : National Student Pride, London
  • 25th January: Hampshire Pride
  • 8th April : Bury Pride
  • 13th May : Exeter Pride
  • 27th-29th May : Birmingham Pride
  • 27th May : Flintshire Pride

Find out if there’s a Pride event taking place near you at www.ukpridenetwork.org.uk

Here are some Mela Festival dates for your calendar:

  • 1st-2nd July : Birmingham Mela
  • 15th July : Southampton Mela
  • 22nd-23rd July : Manchester Mela
  • 20th August : Leicester Mela
  • 27th August : Belfast Mela
  • 16th September : Hull Indian Mela

What community events will you be supporting this year? Watch out for more articles about Pride and other diversity events taking place throughout the year.

VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email info@vercida.com for more information.

We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email info@vercida.com for more information.

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