Two leading LGBT charities – The Rainbow Project and Stonewall – have launched a partnership to support LGBT-inclusive employers in Northern Ireland.
The new initiative builds on an employers’ programme established five years ago by The Rainbow Project.
More than 100 people from over 40 businesses across Northern Ireland gathered at an exclusive celebration event on Thursday 19 April 2018, kindly supported by Pinsent Masons.
The Rainbow Project currently works with 10 employers across Northern Ireland. With support from Stonewall, this work will extend to 40 employers in the first year.
Inaugural members of the programme in Northern Ireland include Allen and Overy, Allstate, Baker McKenzie, Citi, Close Brothers, EY, Pinsent Masons and The Police Service of Northern Ireland.
The Rainbow Project’s Director John O’Doherty was among the speakers at the celebration, and was joined by Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s Chief Executive.
Paul Gillen and Gill Warwick from Pinsent Masons also spoke at the event and shared their experience of creating a truly inclusive workplace and why supporting LGBT inclusion in Northern Ireland is important to them.
Every year Stonewall reveals its top LGBT inclusive employer. By 2019, Stonewall and The Rainbow Project will be able to name Northern Ireland’s top LGBT inclusive employer.
John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project, said: ‘We’re thrilled to officially launch this partnership. We know that many employers are keen to make their workplaces welcoming of all lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff.
‘Now that we’re working with Stonewall, we can make that work happen faster and dramatically increase the pace of change for LGBT people in Northern Ireland.’
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: ‘By combining our resources, expertise and reach, Stonewall and The Rainbow Project will transform the lives of many more LGBT people in Northern Ireland.
‘Employers want to get the best out of their staff and we know that people perform better when they can be themselves.
‘This partnership enables us to share the expertise and skills we have developed over the past decade, and to better understand how we can support LGBT movements in places where the law is different.’
Paul Gillen, Employment Partner at Pinsent Masons, said: ‘As a founder member of the Diversity Champions programme we congratulate The Rainbow Project on the excellent work to date. LGBT and other diversity issues are impacting upon boardroom agendas today more than ever, and Northern Ireland employers have to meet those challenges.
‘As the Stonewall UK Index top ranked law firm (2nd overall) we understand the depth of resource and experience they offer to organisations and see this partnership as a significant catalyst for progress.’