We want everybody who works at Touchstone to know how much they are valued, to understand the impact that their work has on individuals and communities, and to feel that they’re being supported to do their best work.
Because of this, we’re delighted to announce that we have been short-listed in the Employee Engagement Awards 2016 for our LGBT allies programme Pink Pals.
We have a well established reputation as one of the most inclusive organisations. 50% of staff and service users are from BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds. We take pride in the diversity of cultures, faiths, religions, and ethnicities represented in our workforce. One challenge we set out to address was improving attitudes towards LGBTQ people both inside the organisation and across other services and communities we work with. Our primary goal was entrenching a climate and culture where LGBTQ staff feel welcomed, accepted and supported to be who they are inside and outside the workplace. This is very important to us to ensure we look after the wellbeing of all employees as well as retaining existing talented LGBTQ staff and attracting new ones to our organisation.
Pink Pals staff allies group was set up in 2014 to promote LGBTQ equality and inclusion in the workplace. Pink Pals brings together frontline staff, volunteers, service user champions, and members of the senior management team in a flat hierarchy where any member; irrespective of their role in the organisation and sexual orientations, can initiate and lead on a project or activities that positively add to LGBTQ equality. As Pink Pals members came from different parts of the organisation and roles, it offered us a rich variety of perspectives and capacity to comprehensively identify problems and come up with creative solutions. Since January 2015, Pink Pals members have initiated, delivered or facilitated a number of projects and activities including:

  • Informed the Bullying and Harassment and Trans in Work policies
  • LGBT* film night for all staff
  • Set up staff LGBTQ social group run by and for LGBTQ staff
  • Organised and delivered ‘Love has no religion’ event in partnership with key organisations in Leeds over LBGT History Month 2016
  • Organised and delivered ‘building allies’ event to celebrate Bi Visibility Day 2016
  • Organised a walking float at Leeds Pride 2016 which allowed staff and their families to take part in the parade
  • Co-designed Pink Pals flag – to identify Pink pals across the organisation thus making it clear who can be of help specifically for LGBT staff
  • worked with 2 LGBT service users to design and deliver LGBT training to other service users
  • 2 x training on equal opportunities monitoring to staff across the organisation
  • All touchstone managers received LGBT* refresher training with Stonewall
  • Designed and delivered LGBTQ training to our key suppliers and partners
  • Presentation delivered at Stonewall’s annual workplace conference focussing on LGBT and MH with tips for other public, private and 3rd sector organisations to make their workplaces more friendly and understanding of LGBT* mental health.
  • Sharing good practices with and developing capacity of external partners including Barnados, Sharing Voices Bradford, Leeds IAPT consortium, Leeds City Council.