Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust has received “diversity champion” certification from the charity.
“One of our trust’s core values is to be caring and compassionate to everyone we serve”
It recognises employers in the UK and beyond that choose to make a positive and prominent commitment to ending discrimination in the workplace and improving the lives of LGBT+ people both in work and in the wider community.
The trust joins over 750 organisations which are part of the programme, including locally the North East Ambulance Service, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue service and Northumbria Police.
In addition to creating free awareness training sessions for all its staff, the trust’s LGBT+ network has just launched a new LGBT Allies Programme, which supports staff to use their gained knowledge and skills to foster a supportive and safe atmosphere for LGBT+ staff and service users.
The trust’s LGBT+ network has also recently worked with Pride Radio, the North East’s only dedicated lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans radio station, to engage with the wider community and promote a greater awareness of LGBT+ and mental health issues.
Senior representatives including board members from the trust met with Stonewall Scotland Programmes Officer Phillippa Scrafton and members of the trust’s LGBT+ Network to formally launch the diversity champion programme.
As part of its commitment, the trust is working towards submitting an application to Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index (WEI), a national benchmarking tool which evaluates in detail what UK workplaces are doing to support their LGBT+ staff.
The trust is one of the largest NHS mental health and disability providers in England and has over 6,000 employees based at more than 60 sites across Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland including seven hospitals.
“Being part of the diversity champion programme is a hugely positive step”
It is one of only two mental health trusts in the country to be given “outstanding” status by the Care Quality Commission.
Lynne Shaw, the trust’s acting executive director of workforce and organisational development, said: “One of our trust’s core values is to be caring and compassionate to everyone we serve.
“This includes making sure all our staff are treated equally and experience a caring and inclusive working environment,” she said.
She added: “We are thrilled to be joining Stonewall’s Diversity Champion programme and hope that our membership will make NTW an even more attractive place to work.”
Stonewall Scotland programmes officer Phillippa Scrafton said: “We are looking forward to working with the trust to support the process of embedding inclusion across the entire organisation.”
Simon Pearson, chair of trust’s LGBT+ Network, added: “It’s really important that all staff in our trust are fully aware of the needs of our LGBT+ service users.
“Being part of the diversity champion programme is a hugely positive step which is going to move our trust forward in achieving this,” he said.