Local Mayors joined hospital staff in an afternoon of picnics as part of Pride Month.
The celebrations were organised by the local hospital Trust’s LGBTQ+ network to help raise awareness of the issues facing the community and to show off its diverse staff network.
There were packed lunches, refreshments and even and an ice-cream van at the picnics, which took place across Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust’s three main sites in Southend, Basildon and Broomfield. The events also complied with the latest COVID-19 restrictions
Clare Panniker, chief executive, said: “Pride picnics are a key part of our summer calendar that we all look forward to. Days like today, where we celebrate with our LGBTQ+ staff, are an important part of our culture of equality, diversity and inclusion in the Trust.”
The mayors and deputy mayors of Southend, Thurrock and Chelmsford were keen to be there, to join in with the celebrations, talk to staff and thank them for everything they do.
The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Jude Deakin, said: “This celebration is so important for continuing to make positive changes for the LGBTQ+ community. Our NHS does wonderful, caring work and this is an opportunity to show our support in return. We stand in unity.”
The Deputy Mayor of Thurrock, Councillor James Halden, said: “Diversity is one of our biggest strengths. It is with pride that I, on behalf of Thurrock Council, commend Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust’s inclusivity and the recognition they have shown today for the fantastic work their LGBTQ+ community does to care for everyone who walks through their doors.
Today was a great opportunity to celebrate those achievements..”
The Mayor of Southend, Councillor Margaret Borton, said: “It is tremendously uplifting to see the Trust embrace inclusivity and support its LGBTQ+ staff. As one of the largest employers in the area, with a hugely diverse workforce, the aim to provide a safe, welcoming environment for all is to be applauded.”