Tower Hamlets housing service tops gay friendly list

James (back right wearing a white shirt) with colleagues from Tower Hamlets Homes

James (back right wearing a white shirt) with colleagues from Tower Hamlets Homes - Credit: Archant

The second best place to work for gay, lesbian and bisexual staff in the borough is Tower Hamlets Homes, gay rights charity Stonewall announced this week.

They praised the not-for-profit housing service for its “Straight Allies Network” and “Right to Bi” campaign - which tackles homophobia in the workplace.

Tower Hamlets Homes (THH) employee, James Caspell, told The Advertiser he’s delighted they won second place.

The business innovation manager, 31, said: “We’ve focused a lot more on cultural transformation so people feel they can be themselves at work.”

He explained THH tries to create an environment where people feel equally valued, which they do by having visible role models who “reassure and give comfort”.

“Language can be assuming and people make flippant comments,” he added, “so we do training with all our colleagues which helps create an environment where we can challenge any behaviour or language which affects people negatively in the workplace.”

Gay, lesbian and bi-sexual role models at THH range from directors to caretakers. They help celebrate diversity and challenge stereotypes, James explained.

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CEO of THH, Gavin Cansfield, said: “This is a remarkable achievement. We have some amazingly talented people, and we pride ourselves on creating an environment which is inclusive and supportive.

“I’m delighted that we have been recognised in this way - it is apparent that our incredible staff feel equally valued and can therefore perform their very best for our customers.”

Local government associations accounted for 15 of the 100 listed companies, with housing and legal the second-best performing categories with 11 entries each.

Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index covers 13.3m employees and is now in its 11th year.

It tracks employers’ performance against 10 criteria including employee policy, training, employee network group, all-staff engagement, career development, line managers, monitoring, procurement, community engagement and additional work.