A NEW equality and diversity award is seeking more businesses to sign up.

Called the ‘Rainbow Stripes’, the award offers accreditation for businesses that promotes and works for equality and diversity and how they show support for the LGBTQ+ community within the environment they work.

It is a product of an idea by LGBTQ+ rights activist and chair of Pride in North Cumbria, a charity that supports young LGBTQ+ people in the county, Pam Eland.

She is passionate about getting businesses involved in these awards to show their customers and the community that they are prepared to deliver on anti-discrimination, equality, and proper support within the workplace.

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Pam explained further: “The accreditation could be adapted, so that it is not just focusing solely on the LGBTQ+ community, but other minority groups like the BAME community, or the disabled community.”

Pam explained that those are not her field of personal expertise, however, and so for now it is focusing on LGBTQ+ support.

She continued: “Every workplace should be considering minorities.

“I think a lot of businesses have a lot of policies in place, but the communication in some place needs to be addressed because if you are not working directly with the LGBTQ+ community, the benefit is not as significant.”

The gist of these awards is to identify discrimination and support the community, which Pam said could take the form of many things.

There are, however, some distinct criteria that businesses will need to fulfil in order to be given the full award, although Pam explained they can do these in steps and will be given a certificate for each one they achieve.

These are: sponsoring or supporting a Pride or Pride-related event in the workplace, training staff with up-to-date legislation and terminology, adopting national guidelines to follow and outlining training that people understand to follow these, and providing a safe physical and emotional environment in the workplace – such as creating a gender-neutral workplace in the form of unisex bathrooms, establishing a network for LGBTQ+ workers, and establishing a strong anti-discrimination policy in recruitment and promotion practices.

Pam is taking the opportunity now to spread the word further, with some businesses which she is hopeful to sponsor including big companies like Sellafield, down to SMEs and micro-businesses.

This is not for Cumbria only but is projected to reach nationwide enrolment.

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