stonewallCheshire Fire and Rescue Service has been named in Stonewall's top 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employers.

It is the second time the force has been made the list, jumping 20 places from 45 in 2013 to being named 25th this year.

Deputy Chair of the Fire Authority, Cllr Stef Nelson said: "Making the Top 100 for a second year is something we are incredibly proud of. It demonstrates that the culture of the fire and rescue service is changing for the better. We are totally committed to getting the most out of every single member of staff and developing an inclusive working environment where our staff feel valued regardless of their background or sexual orientation”.

The Cheshire Fire and Rescue service has a strong LGBT community, its network, Firepride has been accredited as a 'Star Performing Network' for its contribution into the experience of LGBT staff.

Chief Fire Office Paul Hancock, sponsor of the Service’s LGBT staff network, added: "I am delighted that our organisation has again improved its placing in Stonewall’s Top 100 this year. It reflects the hard work invested by our staff and volunteers, not only in ensuring that our people can perform at their best and be themselves, but also so that LGBT people across Cheshire know that we are here to support them. Our aim is always to deliver an excellent fire and rescue service and to do that we need people from every background.”

Almost 400 of the worlds largest firms entered the Stonewall index with the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service coming joint first in the North West.