Celebrating Pride Month at Central Co-op

Celebrating Pride Month at Central Co-op

June is Pride month, a time to celebrate LGBTQIA+ communities across the globe. Pride is about being proud of who you are, no matter who you love or how you identify, and at Central Co-op, we believe that when every colleague can bring their whole selves to work, we create a truly inclusive Society where we can all thrive.

We’re thrilled to announce the recent launch of our new LGBTQIA+ inclusion network, an initiative that reflects our commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment. Whether colleagues are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community seeking a safe space to connect with others who share similar experiences, or those eager to learn how to be a better ally, our inclusion network is here to ensure everyone feels supported and heard. By joining, colleagues help shape our business decisions and break down barriers, contributing to a more inclusive Society.

Andy Peake, Chief Commercial Officer at Central Co-op and Executive Sponsor of the LGBTQIA+ inclusion network, shares: "It's essential that everyone feels they belong, that we're united, and that every individual is valued, seen and heard. True inclusion means people can be themselves and express who they are without fear. I've witnessed how crucial it is for individuals to feel accepted within their communities, and while society has made progress, there's still much work to be done. It's vital that our colleagues feel safe at work, able to be their authentic selves without fear of discrimination. At Central Co-op, everyone is welcome."

Fay Warner, Co-Lead of our LGBTQIA+ inclusion network, reflects: "Despite being open about my sexuality in my personal life, I always felt uncomfortable with the idea of doing the same at work. For years, I would consciously leave that part of myself at the door. Fortunately, that’s changed thanks to some amazingly supportive colleagues. I’ve stopped worrying so much about it, and because of that, I’m now much happier both as a colleague and a person. Becoming a co-lead for the LGBTQIA+ Inclusion Network was important to me so that I can support others who may be feeling the same way I did and guide those who just want to be great allies and actively create safe spaces for others to just be themselves and feel included."

Sam Judge, Co-Lead of our LGBTQIA+ inclusion network, shares: "My inclusion story comes from a place of understanding and being aware of my own privilege and how I can leverage that to make a positive impact. After joining recent webinars and listening to family and friends, it struck me how little I understood and how past experiences can have long-lasting effects. My personal journey as part of the LGBTQIA+ Inclusion Network is to focus on continuous education, listening to different perspectives, and advocating for change through allyship. I hope that through my involvement with the group, many others will step forward to create a strong network of allies."

Last November, we also launched our Trans and Non-binary policy during Transgender Awareness Week and hosted a special webinar with Katie Neeves, an openly transgender woman and trans ambassador from Cool 2 B Trans, which received fantastic feedback from colleagues.

Our objective is to create an attractive place to work where everyone feels welcome and included. Through the creation of inclusive policies and procedures, we aim to avoid anyone feeling they have to hide aspects of who they are to comply with any implied norm. These policies are fundamental to creating a safe and welcoming environment, aligning with our wider mission to create a sustainable Society for all.

Central Co-op is also proud to be participating in Pride events across the UK, reinforcing our commitment to fostering inclusive and diverse communities. Our message is clear: “Everyone is welcome here.” This year, our focus is on ensuring that everyone feels safe to be themselves, with particular attention to the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQIA+ community, who often face unequal access to necessary support.

We invite everyone to join us in celebrating diversity and promoting inclusivity. By supporting our initiatives and participating in events like Pride events, we can make a significant impact and ensure that everyone feels safe, valued and free to be themselves.

Let's come together this Pride month to celebrate and support our LGBTQIA+ colleagues and communities. Together, we can build a more inclusive and thriving Society for all. Happy Pride!