By Adam Hampton, Business Support Manager, Funeralcare, Life Planning & Legal Services
It’s an incredible feeling to work for a business that encourages colleagues to celebrate diversity, and one that works hard to create an inclusive culture. Working at Co-op and celebrating Pride with so many people from across the business is one of my highlights every single year.
This year I helped organise Newcastle Pride, where we also sponsored the Health and Wellbeing Zone. We all took part in the parade, wearing our rainbow Co-op t-shirts and waving our flags – people were incredibly excited to see the Co-op represented.
After the parade, we manned a Co-op stall where we chatted with the public and local communities. We spoke about all the amazing things we do as a Co-op, and showcased the products and services we offer. We even had special coffins there, one was a rainbow coffin and one was like a whiteboard. We asked everyone who visited the stall to write a message on it about what Pride means for them.
For me, being encouraged to be my true self is so important. I came out later in life, and I have two young children who are my whole world. I want them to be true to themselves, live the life they want and be unashamed of who they are. This is why I’m proud to work for Co-op. We’re encouraged and celebrated to be our unique, individual selves every day.
Pride is still as important today as it’s ever been. Hate attacks are on the rise, and people are being excluded because they’re different or don’t conform. Pride teaches us to be happy, to be unique and to celebrate each other no matter who you are. Everyone’s welcome and celebrated, so come as you are. At one of my very first Pride events, I was told “coming out isn’t the end of your life – it’s the beginning of it”, and I’ve carried that with me every single day since.
We still have Manchester Pride to go, which takes place on Saturday 24 August. I’ll be there, and I hope you’ll either join us in the parade or cheer us on from the sidelines! If you’d like to get involved or want to know more about Pride or our Respect network, please check out our colleague site.