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Stoke is latest council to join Stonewall diversity scheme Staff Writer June 23, 2008

The only city in the UK to have had two openly gay elected mayors has joined a Stonewall scheme for employers.

The gay equality organisation’s Diversity Champions programme is a good practice forum.

Employers work with Stonewall to promote lesbian, gay and bisexual equality in the workplace and share best practice with other companies.

From 2005 to 2007 the programme tripled from 100 to over 300 members. in 2008, we are approaching 400 members.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has become the latest local authority to join.

“We will be providing help and support, and showing equality to both gay and bisexual residents of the city as well as council employees,” the council said in a statement.

“It’s thought that around 10% of the population of Stoke-on-Trent is gay or bisexual, including 3% of the city council’s workforce, meaning that there is a growing need to acknowledge and work with an increasingly important part of the city’s cultural make up.”

In 2005 Mark Meredith, standing in his first election, became the first gay man to oust another gay man as directly elected Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent.

“This is all about putting a public face on our already strong links with the gay and bisexual community,” he said.

“They deserve the same rights and opportunities as the rest of the city and being a Diversity Champion shows we’re giving them equal footing in everything from jobs to community events.

“We really want to show that we’re committed to improving our services by giving everyone a chance to be part of Stoke-on-Trent.”

Last year the Workplace Equality Index listed three local authorities, London, Manchester and Brighton and Hove, among the top ten employers for gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

For more information on the Diversity Champions Scheme click here.

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