Tracey Horseman, our co-chair of LGBT+ staff network tells us about improving support for staff and the importance of raising awareness of LGBT+ communities this Pride Month.
My name is Tracey Horseman and I work in the social care training team, based in County Hall in Morpeth. We provide all of the professional development opportunities for both children and adult social work staff. This includes delivering an annual training programme for staff, organising all social work placements including apprenticeships.
I became aware of our Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) staff network through a work colleague, and as he talked about what the group were involved in, and issues they discussed, I felt it was something that I wanted to be part of. I was keen to provide support to specific events, projects to improve support for LGBT+ staff through the network.
The group is for anyone who has an interest in LGBT+ issues. This can include parents, brothers, aunts etc. of someone who may identify as LGBT+, LGBT+ allies, and it also offers a relaxed safe space for LGBT+ staff.
Here they can share experiences, get support, advocate, shape how our Trust supports LGBT+ staff and communities and talk freely about anything that is of significance to them. In this way it helps to identify any issues and enables our organisation to be more inclusive.
I’ve been a member of the network for 5 years and have met some really lovely colleagues and identified a good network of support.
One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about the network meetings is just increasing my own knowledge and understanding of LGBT+ issues in different settings, for example, we work closely with other organisations and have members from the Army, Fire Service and the Chaplaincy and it’s been really interesting listening to issues that are raised and discussed.
During the pandemic the staff network has really helped staff to keep connected with colleagues and overcome any challenges they’ve faced at the earliest opportunity.
June is Pride Month and for me this highlights the importance of supporting others to simply be proud of who you are, and celebrate that with others who feel the same!
If you are thinking about joining a staff network group, go on, and come along to the meetings! Together we really can make a difference to address inequalities and improve access to services and support for our LGBT+ communities.