Hundreds of years of animosity between Newcastle and Sunderland, from the Civil War onwards, is now largely focused on the rather bitter Magpies v Mackems football rivalry.
It’s pretty unusual for a lad from Newcastle, who has followed the football club for over 50 years, to give any credit at all to anything that comes from Sunderland.
But today it’s a well done to the Gentoo Group for coming second in the national league table of all employers for its inclusion policies for lesbian gay and bisexual staff (LGB) in the Stonewall 2013 Workplace Equality Index (WEI). Gentoo has been in the ‘top 20’ for five years but this is believed to be the highest position ever achieved by a housing organisation.
Stonewall’s WEI is a tool for employers to measure their efforts to tackle discrimination and create inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. Around 400 employers entered this year, using Stonewall’s criteria as a model for good practice.
Julie Kelly, Assistant Chief Executive of Gentoo Group said: “This is a fantastic result for Gentoo. It is immensely important to us that we value difference in our staff. One of our values is ‘Give us all you’ve got’ and to do this you need to be comfortable being yourself.
“We aim to make a real difference to the way people live their lives and if our staff are able to bring their whole selves to work and live authentic relationships, they can give us 100%. This is not only a great result for us as a Group, but also great news for our customers. Our result sends a clear message to our staff and customers and we are proud to be leading the way.”
The Index is based on a range of key indicators which include a confidential survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. This consistently revealed that the satisfaction levels of gay staff were highest at the top-ranking organisations in the Index.
Gentoo has an established staff network group, B-GLAD, for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees which has clear links into the formal structures so that it can influence policies and practice, as well as providing advice and support to colleagues and raising awareness.
Honorable mentions also go to Metropoltan, who were 10th this year, St Mungo’s who were 24th, and Genesis, 37th. Your Homes Newcastle also made it into the top 100, showing that the north east is doing something right. 15 Councils were included in the top 100.