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Danske Bank supports new LGBTQI+ business charter

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At the launch of the new LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter in Stormont: Matt Leebody, chairman of the Cara-Friend board, Finance Minister Conor Murphy and Danielle Harper, chair of Danske Bank’s Rainbow Network.

At the launch of the new LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter in Stormont: Matt Leebody, chairman of the Cara-Friend board, Finance Minister Conor Murphy and Danielle Harper, chair of Danske Bank’s Rainbow Network.

At the launch of the new LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter in Stormont: Matt Leebody, chairman of the Cara-Friend board, Finance Minister Conor Murphy and Danielle Harper, chair of Danske Bank’s Rainbow Network.

LGBTQI+ charity Cara-Friend is encouraging businesses to commit to diversity and inclusion by signing up to a new business charter.

The LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter is supported by Danske Bank and designed to increase awareness and understanding of LGBTQI+ issues.

The charter offers businesses guidance, advice, awareness-training, policy amendments and ongoing consultation to ensure all staff understand and recognise the importance and benefits of a more inclusive workplace.

The charter has received support from the Department of Finance’s Dormant Accounts Fund (NI), delivered by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Danske Bank said that as principal sponsor of the charter, it was committed to supporting its own employees and prompting employers to tackle some of the issues and concerns facing staff from all genders and sexual orientations.

While Northern Ireland has made significant progress in establishing a more equal, diverse and inclusive society, many individuals still face obstacles to being their true self in the workplace.

Dr Matt Leebody, chair of Cara-Friend, said companies should show they are determined to make their businesses more inclusive and diverse:

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“Most employers want to do right by their employees. At the same time many employers are aware of the increasingly abundant research which demonstrates a direct link between equality and productivity in the workplace.

“Yet at the same time we are still regularly contacted by LGBTQI+ employees who are facing serious issues and obstacles at work. And often those who should be able to help them in their workplaces do not have the training or access to the information needed to help support the employees.

“The new LGBTQI+ Business Charter will enable Cara-Friend to help employers to better support their employees. This is good for the employee. This is good for the productivity of the business. This is good for our society.”

Danske Bank HR director Caroline van der Feltz said: “Inclusivity is becoming an increasing priority for businesses, and it is important that the LGBTQI+ community feel safe, supported and free to be themselves in the workplace – at Danske Bank, one of our key priorities is creating an environment where all colleagues can thrive and be themselves at work.

"Cara Friend’s LGBTQI+ Inclusive Business Charter offers companies the knowledge and training to effectively address inclusivity, equality and respect within their business to support their staff of all gender and sexual orientations.

“We are proud to work with Cara Friend on this progressive programme and we encourage local businesses to sign up to the charter to increase awareness and understanding of the LGBTQI+ community in their workplace.”

The charter encourages companies to agree to undertake LGBTQI+ awareness training and update any Equality and Diversity policies to specifically reference LGBTQI+ inclusion.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy: “Cara-Friend was awarded almost £100,000 of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund, supported by my department and administered by the National Lottery Community Fund.

"It is great to see the positive impact that this funding is making to improve the experiences of LGBTQI+ employees here.

"This new Inclusive Business Charter will provide practical training and guidance to companies, enabling staff and employers to better understand the issues facing LGBTQI+ employees.

" I am pleased my department has been able to support this important initiative which will help create more inclusive and diverse workforces.”


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