LGBT community business alliance launched

Businesses and organisations in Leeds have launched the region’s first LGBT+ community business alliance.

Teaming up with the Leeds City Council run LGBT+ Hub, Blacks solicitors has helped to create a local network of organisations and companies with the collective aim of supporting the community.

The launch this week saw more than 50 people attend, representing 30 different businesses from the retail, leisure, legal, insurance and media sectors throughout the city. The alliance will pool the resources of these private sector businesses and aims to include financial support, legal advice, setting up charity events, social enterprises and providing public spaces for community group gatherings for the whole LGBT+ community.

Andrew Smith, family lawyer at Blacks Solicitors has been heavily involved in helping set up the business alliance and is regularly involved with LGBT+ CSR events.

He said: “We are so delighted to finally be able to announce the launch of this initiative. Planning and bringing this together has taken a lot of hard work and the support from the council and other businesses already signed up has been phenomenal.

“The hard work doesn’t stop now though and now that the alliance has officially launched we will soon be reconvening with all the other members to implement the aims of the alliance.”

Additional aims of the alliance will be to provide peer support to SMEs in Leeds as well as supporting third sector organisations who are also involved in LGBT+ community backing. On top of this a LGBT+ Charter mark scheme will be developed, to assess business services on being LGBT+ inclusive.

Cllr James Lewis, of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds wants a strong economy within a compassionate city and is working towards being fully LGBT+ inclusive. The launch of the LGBT+ Business Alliance is a great example of how, working in partnership, the city can achieve these aims.

“The Council is also keen to support LGBT+ owned and managed businesses to start, grow and be successful within the city. I am really pleased to see the proposals to help businesses support LGBT+ groups and charities with funding and practical support, as this a good example of corporate social responsibility in action.”

Businesses already signed up to the alliance include: Blacks Solicitors, Asda, Leeds Bradford Airport, Pinsent Masons, DWF, Lloyds Banking Group and Branded3.