WEST MIDLANDS Fire Service (WMFS) has been named a ‘diversity champion’ for promoting LGBT rights across the region.
The service has been commended by leading LGBT campaign group, Stonewall, for championing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
WMFS joins around 700 public, private and third sector organisations as part of the Stonewall Diversity Champion programme which helps employers create inclusive and accepting environments for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Commander Sarah Warnes, who’s responsible for people support services throughout West Midlands Fire Service, said: “We’re extremely proud of our staff and the services they provide – they’re our finest asset.
“Becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion highlights our continuing commitment to being an equal opportunities employer, and the value we place on the diversity of our workforce.
“We do our very best to lead by example by challenging prejudice and removing discrimination.
“We actively promote a working environment which is conducive to good working relationships, which ultimately benefits the communities we serve.”
The force plans to recruit more firefighters later this year, and Commander Warnes hopes the links with Stonewall will ‘send a clear and welcoming message’ to the LGBT community.
Councillor John Edwards, chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, added: “I’m really pleased that, as one of the most progressive fire and rescue services in UK, we are underlining our commitment to equality issues by becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion.
“We have a long-standing commitment to all our minority communities in both employment opportunities and in the delivery of our vital services.”
WMFS recently hosted a Stonewall seminar at its Birmingham headquarters – bringing together a number of local Stonewall Diversity Champion organisations.