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Let's Do it with Pride

Natasha Sharma our consultant managing the role

Following LGBT History Month in February, and as LGBT+ Chair, I feel it’s important to share how @Wickes supports my community.

It all started through the passion and drive of one Store Manager. Many businesses have ‘Winning Behaviours’ and we are no different. One of ours celebrates colleagues being ‘Authentic’ and we mean this in every sense of the word. This is why in 2014 when a colleague expressed their desire to take part in Manchester Pride we recognised the importance of this event for people within our business, rallied round and made it happen. Attracting colleagues from all over the business, some within the LGBT+ community, others not, they collaborated on the event and set out to build our first pride float. 

While some LGBT colleagues felt they could be their authentic selves within the business, we knew there was more we could do to ensure everyone felt supported at Wickes. We set out to create a clear agenda for our LGBT+ community, as part of making Wickes inclusive and I am so proud of the progress we’ve made and continue to make. 

Over the past six years there have been a number of key milestones. We formed ‘Let’s do it with Pride’, a colleague network which is dedicated to celebrating and providing support with the aim to create a positive environment which allows colleagues to reach their full potential, together with attracting more diverse colleagues and customers. 

Because of this network, LBGT+ colleagues have felt so encouraged that for the first time they’ve shared personal experiences working for Wickes across our Facebook and Instagram channels. Each experience is different and really shows how far we’ve come. From the wider teams being quick to change pronouns, to those being comfortable to wear their Pride badge, or simply just feeling accepted; to be themselves without fear, prejudice or concern. 

We’ve continued to support Pride events, expanding our activity with both London and Brighton parades, in addition to more local Pride events across the country. Every event is important, as it often surprises people that Wickes is so supportive; if we can change someone's perception of Wickes through Pride attendance and conversation - we’re doing it right. 

What’s more in 2018 we became a Stonewall Diversity Champion. Partnering with the UK’s leading LGBT rights charity has been really significant not just for the colleagues who work with us today but for the ones who will work with us in the future. Our commitment to being a Diversity Champion means we support ten pillars of inclusion; from colleague recruitment to customer and community support. And as a business we submit our progress each year which is benchmarked against over 500 UK companies. 

Last year we introduced our Wickes LGBT+ Allies programme, where the role of the ally is to stand up on behalf of LGBT+ people when they see and hear inappropriate behaviour as well as being an advocate for the LGBT+ community by understanding the issues. We also built and launched the Wickes trans policy, a brilliant new step within inclusivity. This year I am excited to say that we’re rolling out our LGBT+ role model programme which helps LGBT+ colleagues on their next step career wise; this initiative is across all levels. 

I really am proud of what’s already been achieved and I look forward to sharing more updates on our ‘Let’s Do it With Pride’ journey with you in the future.