Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has been recognised for being a gay friendly employer, by national charity Stonewall.

The service has successfully entered into the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index that is published by the charity on an annual basis. The service has been entered at 152, out of 378 employers.

Equality and Diversity Assistant, Jo Hammersley told FIRE: "We've worked hard to create an environment in which people feel they can be open about their sexuality.

"This was our first attempt, so to enter in the top half of employers is a real achievement, particularly as many of the other employers are public sector organisations that have been entering for a number of years now, or multi national companies. We've also achieved this through the commitment of our staff, rather than through additional funding or resources."

New Media Officer, Laura Cole, said: "In my six years of working with the service I've always felt I can be open about my sexuality, I'm pleased though, that this has now been recognised at a national level."

In order to submit an entry into the Index, the service was assessed on a wide range of criteria including employment policies, staff and community engagement and training. Importantly the service has recently developed a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transexual network support network in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Police. 

Jo Hammersley continued: "We've received a report on this first application, which will give us a benchmark to improve on for our next application."


Posted: 09.34am, 24.02.11