PLUS Dane Group has been voted the North West’s most gay-friendly housing association.
The Ellesmere Port and Neston housing management organisation was ranked 51st in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers list – a leap from last year, when it was placed 90th in the prestigious list.
Judges at the charity Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) said that Plus Dane’s improved rating was due to efforts to build on an already strong commitment to diversity.
Initiatives include support for a partnership with the Homotopia Arts Organisation to put on cabaret events aimed at promoting inclusivity among customers, strongly promoting a culture of respect in the workplace and appointing a champion to whom lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff can turn to with any issues they have.
Plus Dane, based at Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, also has a thriving diversity group called Something for Everyone, which recently drew up a respect pledge for all staff to sign up to.
Plus Dane’s director for strategic initiatives – and LGBT champion – Chris Mather said: “It’s important for companies such as ours to ensure equality and diversity are held in as high a regard as any other part of the business.
“You get the best from all your employees when they feel they can be themselves.
“At Plus Dane you can be whoever you are and you will always be treated with the same respect as anyone else no matter what your race, sexuality, age or anything else.
“This extends into the neighbourhoods we serve, where we seek to celebrate diversity and challenge intolerance,” he added.
The Stonewall Index is based on a range of key indicators which include a confidential survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees, with nearly 9,000 participants.
This consistently revealed that the satisfaction levels of gay staff were highest at the top-ranking organisations in the index.