Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service retains top spot in LGBT+ employer’s list

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service remains the UK’s most LGBT+ inclusive emergency service in the country according to Stonewall.

The charity published its 2023 Workplace Equality Index, in which the Service ranks fifth overall alongside major national organisations. Not only is it the highest-ranking emergency service for the third year running, but also the second most LGBT+ inclusive public sector employer in the country.

In addition, the Service has achieved a Gold award for the second consecutive year in recognition of its LGBT+ inclusive ways of working.

Alex Waller, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive, said: “We are exceptionally proud to have featured in Stonewall’s Top 100 for the last 11 years and among the top 10 employers for the last six.

“It reflects a huge amount of work over the last decade to ensure that our LGBT+ colleagues can be themselves at work, feel included and give their very best to the communities we serve.

“Much of this work has been led LGBT+ staff themselves, keen to create a culture where everyone can reach their full potential. Our Firepride LGBT+ staff network set a precedent for our women’s, race and ethnicity and, most recently, neurodiversity staff networks. They are all driving positive change every day.”

The Stonewall Top Workplace Equality Index assesses organisations ranging from small local authorities to large private international businesses against robust criteria which include internal policy, leadership, staff networks, community engagement, training and service delivery.

This year the charity recognised Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s work to engage thousands of people at eight pride events, run a national conference on considering the needs of LGBT+ people when developing services and to recruit more LGBT+ people to its firefighting and fire staff roles.

Praising the Service, Stonewall’s Chief Executive Nancy Kelley said: “It’s been fantastic to see all of the work put in by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service over the past year to create a workplace where LGBTQ+ staff feel free to thrive as themselves.

“For many of us, the majority of our time is spent at work, so if we have to hide who we are it can take an enormous personal toll and hold us back from fulfilling our true potential. Creating environments where we can all feel comfortable makes our workplaces a safer, better and friendlier place for everyone and helps staff be proud of who they are.”

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