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Your lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network newsletter January 2013 Issue 14


Special Respect Celebration Event Edition Happy New Year!

Welcome to a very special edition of the Respect newsletter. In this issue we bring together everything that made our ‘Respect   Celebration’ event on 1st November a great  success.   It started with a meeting with the Respect network’s Senior LGBT Champion, Chair of The Co-operative Banking Group & Deputy Chair   of The Co-operative Group Paul Flowers in August to update Paul on all things Respect related.   At the meeting Paul brought up Co-operatives United, the   celebration of all things Co-operative related from around the world – as part of International Year of Co-operatives. He said, ‘why   not host an LGBT event as part of the official programme to bring together LGBT delegates (and everyone else) attending the week  long festival?. We both reacted enthusiastically and thought it was a fantastic idea.  

The event was held at Manchester Central Convention Centre on 1st November which was home to Co-operatives United week-long programme of events attended by over 12,000 co-operators from around the world. The event was opened by Paul Flowers, Chair of The Co-operative Banking Group (pic below), Liz Bramley, Head of Employee Engagement and Diversity and Paul Hazen, Executive Director of U.S. Overseas Co-operative Development Council who all gave very inspirational speeches. It was the first LGBT event ever to be held as part of an International Co-operative festival, anywhere in the world. It was attended by 311 people from all over the world including Italy, Spain, Canada, America and the United Kingdom.

So off we went. This was in the midst of our very busy pride season, if it escaped you The Co-operative supported 18 UK pride events in 2012. Our initial thoughts were let’s get a room and supply some   drinks and nibbles and leave everyone to mingle. This idea was  soon a distant memory and as the conversations with the rest of the Respect network Steering Group progressed and the word got out there about the event, so the event programme expanded and so did the guest list.   The Respect network had just celebrated its second birthday and in that time over  1,100 employees have become members, of all sexualities, locations and business areas. We hear regularly of   inspirational and fantastic things in the workplace members doing and in their local communities so we thought, why not celebrate and recognise  this at the event. This idea became the first Respect network member awards that you can read all about in this special   ‘Respect Extra’ newsletter.   with our hearts very much in supporting local Being a business communities we came up with the idea to invite lots of LGBT and   to come and have a stand and share the work they diversity charities do with those attending. We were astonished with the reaction to   this and the representation on the night was as diverse as we could have imagined with everyone from BiPhoria and Sparkle to Manchester  Pride and George House Trust there.   was the ‘well what about some entertainment’ idea. And then there We thought, ‘let’s do something different’ and we were pleased to   LGBT radio station Gaydio as our DJ, Pink welcome leading Triangle Theatre as our theatrical entertainment and the fabulous Manchester  Lesbian & Gay Chorus provided the music.

“The Co-operative movement was founded on values and principles which include Equality, Equity and Caring for others. These extend themselves to the support of minority groups and guide our embracement of the richly diverse communities that we serve.”

We are extremely proud of the event and we thank everyone that was involved with making it a huge success. Read all about our 2012 event in this newsletter. So what will 2013 bring? Thomas Anderson & Victoria Cowley Co-chairs – The Respect network


We show our support for the lesbian, gay,   bisexual and   transgender community    

Thank you to the inspiring Pink Triangle Theatre for their moving production. It definitely got people talking, laughing and crying.


Forty members of the Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus brought the house down with their renditions of classic tunes. They were on form as always.


For more information about both acts visit and



The George House Trust exhibited their ‘HIV Positive Living’ exhibition at the event four truly inspiring works of art produced by   people living with HIV.

Artist Lee Middlehurst exhibited a number of his pieces from recycled CD’s and DVD’s (bottom right that are made pic). The unique pieces stopped people in their tracks and   we hear Lee sold a piece on the night.  

Photographer Ian Brooke brought along a number of photographs from his ‘Boys, Boys, Boys’ collection (bottom left pic), including a photo of Respect member and event compare Ian Blandford. Find out more about Ian’s work by visiting

Thank you to the wonderful Gaydio for providing the music on the night. Robbie Williams ‘Candy’ as the awards intro music got our hips moving!

Read on to see over fifty photographs from the night. If you were there, you may be featured!


In this newsletter we bring you a selection of the photographs from the night. Big thanks go to Respect’s Communication Co-ordinator & Photographer Ben Brosnan (expertly supported by Robbie on the night).




As well as over 220 Respect members, the event was attended by almost 100 other people. These included suppliers of The Co-operative, Co-operatives United delegates, members and representatives from other employee LGBT networks including Tesco, RBS, Accenture, Aviva, PwC and many more. It was great to see such a diverse crowd.





We raised over £13,000 for LGBT charities

Len Wardle, Chair of The Co-operative Group took to the stage with employees from the Manchester city centre Co-operative Food stores to present cheques to the Chairs of  Manchester Pride and George House Trust for funds raised in their stores for the charities over Manchester Pride this summer, totalling a massive £12,715.   A raffle on the night raised over £500 for LGB charity Stonewall.  

Big thanks to everyone that donated prizes for the raffle including Jack Spratt, Sam’s Chop House, Venture Photography, Richard & Judy, Simple and Hey Little   Cupcake. If you supported the fundraising, a massive thank you to you all!            


As part of the evening we hosted our very first ‘Respect network member awards’. The first   event of its kind!  

The awards were founded to recognise the fantastic and inspirational work that lots of our Respect network members do in work and outside to support the network, inclusivity, their local community and beyond.  

The ‘Good with the LGBT Community’ award is an award that each year will be presented to an external community group, individual, charity, publication/website or other group that does exactly what the award says.  

Nominated by employees of The Co-operative, the winners were presented with a very special Respect Award by senior members of The Co-operative on the night.  

The award categories:

‘Champion of the Year’ ‘Volunteer of the Year’   ‘Inspiration’ ‘Good with the LGBT Community’   and ‘Special Recognition’                

Read on to see who won the awards, why they won and what the awards mean to them. Their stories are truly inspirational.

Employees of The Co-operative nominated individuals, community groups, charities, publications and others for the first ever Respect network member awards. A massive thank you to everyone that nominated for the awards! Respect Regional Co-ordinator Stewart Livingstone was our awards host. He did a fantastic job! Big thanks to Respect member Ian Blandford for keeping the night together as our official compare. We plan to make the 2013 Respect network member awards even bigger so watch this space.


Respect ‘Special Recognition’ Award  

George Meudell

Project Manager, The Co-operative Funeralcare

Presented by Paul Flowers Chair of The Co-operative Banking Group &   Deputy Chair of The Co-operative Group  

George founded the Respect network in 2010 and in his two years as Chair of   the network he spearheaded The Co-operative’s support of lots of LGBT   Pride events all over the UK and played   a big part in The Co-operative   increasing its ranking in the annual   Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. His vision has ensured the Respect network   has solid foundations to move forward   and further develop and support   employees and communities all over the UK.              

Congratulations on winning the award. How did you feel when it was announced you had won the award? Very grateful. I thoroughly enjoyed all my involvement in setting up Respect and in furthering the awareness of The Co-operative as an inclusive employer and this was the icing on the cake.

How would you sum up your experience at the first Respect Awards? It was a fantastic opportunity to bring together Respect members, senior stakeholders and LGBT charities and other interest groups together under one roof, all in the name of The Co-operative.

Where will you be keeping the award? It is pride of place on my main bookcase in my living room. It is next to my ‘Keep calm and have a G&T’ sign.

What does the award mean to you? The award is a reflection of the collective efforts of everyone who has made Respect successful. From humble beginnings, it has grown to be a powerful force within The Co-operative and the wider LGBT community, separating us as a retailer who really takes these matters seriously, every supporter and member of Respect has made this happen, even if it is as simple as reading the newsletter every few months in order to keep up-to-date with what’s going on.

Have you shared the news of your win with any colleagues, friends and family?

Of course! Multiple times over in all areas of my work and social life in order to justify multiple celebrations!

Massive congratulations on your well deserved award George! The Respect network Steering Group 8

Respect ‘Inspiration’ Award  

Lucy Elliot

Buying Assistant The Co-operative Food   Presented by Janet McNally   Head of HR The Co-operative Pharmacy                 Congratulations on winning the award. How did you feel when it was announced you had won the award?

It will go down as one of the best moments in my life thus far. I have never received an award like this before so I was over the moon. When   Thomas told me I was nominated it made my week. Then he told me I had won an award   and it made my year!

How would you sum up your experience at the first Respect Awards?

I really enjoyed the night. It was great to see so many people there and the stalls were excellent. I particularly enjoyed the Pink Triangle Theatre whose production was both funny and thought provoking. The Respect   team worked incredibly hard and put on an amazing night. So big thanks to them for the   hard work they do!

Where will you be keeping the award?

I was going to keep it on the mantle piece at home but decided that I wanted to show it off. Ha-ha! So it’s now on my desk at work. Polished daily as well! 

What does the award mean to you?

It means so much that I cannot really put it into words. It will give me the drive to do more for my charity and hopefully inspire others to do something for a cause close to their hearts. 'Mind' is so important to me and it was lovely to be able to give them the sponsorship money so they   can continue to do the important work they do.

Have you shared the news of your win with any colleagues, friends and family? There are not many people I haven't told! It's not every day you receive something like this. It's one of those moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life and I'm very proud of it.  

On the 18th July 2012 Lucy set out on a 212 mile solo trek across the UK to raise money for Mind, a charity close to her heart. Lucy raised over £1,800 and received Mind's Gold Fundraiser award. It took Lucy thirteen days in total and as a result of the trek she has suffered permanent damage to her feet. Next year she plans to do something similar and also set up a social group for sufferers of mental illness and addiction. Lucy shared her experiences in the Respect newsletter.


Respect ‘Champion of the Year’ Award  

Joe Tetley IT Lead Applications Analyst   The Co-operative  

Presented by Sir Nick Partridge Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust  

Joe has volunteered for the charity George House Trust (GHT) for over   eleven years in a number of different roles.    

He is a longstanding volunteer at their peer support space for HIV positive gay men  and also helped as a volunteer mentor.     Recently, he has been helping them to   coordinate their fundraising activities and build relationships with local   businesses.     Come rain or shine, Joe is always present  at their key events during the year; raising funds and awareness   about HIV.  

When we told Joe he had been nominated and whether he would be   there on the night he said, “I haven’t   signed up yet but I will be there, volunteering for the George House   Trust.”  

Read more about the charities George House Trust and Mind in future Respect newsletters.

Congratulations on winning the award. How did you feel when it was announced you had won the award? Embarrassed! I feel like I don’t do enough, there always seems to be so much to do and not enough time!

How would you sum up your experience at the first Respect Awards? I thought it was a well organised event and amazed by so many people attending. I was volunteering for GHT and was surprised to be speaking to directors and heads of departments, it was good to be able to link both The Co-operative and GHT together.

Where will you be keeping the award? We recently moved, so at the minute it’s looking a bit lonely on an empty set of shelves in the lounge!

What does the award mean to you? It’s good to be recognised for something I do outside of work. I got involved in volunteering when I lived in Bristol first off for the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard in about ’96 I’d rung them when I was first coming out and I wanted to put something back. I also worked voluntarily on a mental health project in Bristol before moving to Manchester in 2000 and getting involved with GHT. It’s nice to be appreciated with the award. I think that the LGBT community and The Co-operative world are both stronger together!

Have you shared the news of your win with any colleagues, friends and family? My partner Brendon attended on the night and I admit to some tweets and Facebook posts! I told my mum and bought everyone in work doughnuts the next day. 10

Respect ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award    

Kevin Ditcham   Team Member, The Co-operative Food, Dundee   Presented by Lorinda Robinson Head of Marketing, The Co-operative Funeralcare    

Kevin has been involved with volunteering and youth work in his local community since he was 14.    

He currently volunteers as a youth worker at RAF Leuchars as part of the Airplay Youth Support,  is a mentor for Plus One Mentoring and Kevin is also a trainer and mentor at   safeTALK (community suicide alertness skills   training) and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).  

Thank you to The Co-operative Food for supplying all of the delicious food and many raffle prizes for the event. Your continued support of the Respect network is greatly appreciated and means a lot to us.

He juggles all of this with working in the food store and studying full time. 11

Respect ‘Good With the LGBT Community’ Award      

The Albert Kennedy Trust Presented   by Liz Bramley Head of Employee Engagement & Diversity   The Co-operative Group  

The charity has supported young lesbian,   gay, bisexual and transgender people aged 16-25 year olds who are   made homeless or living in a hostile environment since 1989.    

They aim to meet the individual needs of each young person and ensure they get them  back on track in life, at such an influential part of their life.     They support several hundred young   people every year who have experienced domestic violence or have   been ejected from home just for being   brave enough to come out as lesbian,   gay, bisexual or transgender to their parents  or guardian.  

Their mentoring programme is an valuable resource that many extremely young people have benefited from.    

Their ‘Purple Door’ housing provides a safe space for young people. Find out more about the charity by visiting

Congratulations on winning the award. How did you feel when it was announced The Albert Kennedy Trust had won the Respect ‘Good with the LGBT Community’ award? There was a real sense of pride and happiness if I am honest. We work hard like all charities but I do believe we go the extra mile not only delivering a productive professional service to our service users but also to our supporters and more recently corporate companies. To read we had won, certainly caused a squeal of excitement across the office with an immediate email to the whole staff team. A moment indeed that highlighted everything that AKT stands for ‘ensuring we deliver the best to our LGBT community’. We are very grateful and honoured to be recognised above all the other nominated charities.

How would you sum up your experience at the first Respect Awards? It was a real balance of community networking with a sense of pride from yourselves and rightly so. The night was a roaring success with smiles offered all around the room. What I personally liked was the variety of performance and speakers you managed to attract and this for me highlighted the diversity of the RESPECT network.

Where will you be keeping the award? The award is sitting pride of place in our Manchester office and is absolutely showed off to everyone who comes through the door!

What does the award mean to you? On a personal level it means a lot as it highlights the relationships we are building with our corporate supporters and proves if you go the distance and prove your worth, which I believe AKT does then not only do we make a difference but the wider community pick up on that difference and really grasp it, want to support it and be a part of the work we deliver to all the young people we support. A very proud moment for the whole of AKT! 12

There was lots of ‘Coming Out’ the closet

It was ‘International Coming Out Day’ on 11th October and to celebrate, the Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) brought along   their very glamorous pink closet – with its very own shiny disco ball!                


Pictured are lots of attendees of the night jumping in and out of the very pink closet. The photo below shows Len Wardle, Chair of The Co-operative Group, and Jenny Barnes, Chair of The Co-operative Groups Diversity Strategy Group, showing their support of the diverse event.




“It was such a fantastic celebration at Manchester Central for the Respect LGBT network on November 1st. From the Pink   Triangle Theatre’s thought provoking, funny and  moving performance to the vocal talents of the Manchester Gay &   Lesbian Chorus who excelled as always. In the room the atmosphere was really   chilled and chatty and the music mix from   Gaydio hit all the right notes (they played   for me!) The high point for me Cheryl Cole was the awards themselves, such worthy   winners; and seeing my friend Lucy Elliot win one of  the five inspirational awards was brilliant and greatly deserved. It   proved such a memorable evening; alas I   didn’t win on the raffle but regardless I am very much looking forward to there being a similar event in 2013.” William O’Regan,

Respect member, The Co-operative Food


Some of the charities and community groups that were a part of this   diverse event












Thank you for being a part of the event! 15

“The event showcased the drive and vision of the Respect network and was a credit to their creativity and hard work. There was something for everyone - artists, charities, a theatre performance, choir, DJ and a fully deserved award ceremony. Great event!” Michelle Lockwood Respect member and National Projects Officer The Co-operative Membership

Here are some pictures and tweets from Manchester Pride from the night.

It has recently been announced that the charity raised over £50,000 for North West charities  following this years event – one of the only pride events in the UK to give   money back to the local community.                        

Pictured on this page we have some of the wonderful ladies from Sparkle (top right), the team from BiPhoria (bottom right), colleagues from the Manchester Piccadilly Gardens Co-operative Food store (left) and Chair of The Co-operative Banking Group Paul Flowers with friends and attendees (bottom left).


Find out more and get involved with the Respect network…  

To find out more email us at View our network newsletters by visiting The next full Respect newsletter will be out at the beginning of February 2013.


Some of your feedback

We would like to thank everyone that attended the event and contributed to it being a diverse, fun and entertaining evening.   Below is some of the feedback we received following the event.   It means a lot to us and we look forward to hosting similar events   locations in 2013 and beyond. We hope to see you there! at other  

“Just a note to say thanks for inviting us to your awards event. It was very well organised and I had a great time and met lots of lovely people. It's clear to me that the Respect network within   The Co-operative do a lot of important work within and for the LGBT communities.” Dave Page, Exec Member, LGBT+ Liberal Democrats     feel honoured to be part of the evening. It was a wonderful, enjoyable, entertaining “I really did and inspiring event. PS Great wine, cupcakes and raffle prizes also!!”   Lorinda Robinson, Head of Marketing, The Co-operative Funeralcare  

“Thank you for such a great event last night, it was really enjoyable. You guys are definitely leading the field!”   Paul, Trainee Solicitor, DWF  

“Congratulations on an excellent evening, and thanks for having Bi Community News (BCN) along.” Jen, BiPhoria & BiPhoria  

“Thanks for inviting us. I was moved and inspired by your work in the UK. I wish all the best to the movement and I hope we'll get somewhere near to your wonderful job in Italy. Even though we'll have   to attack fiscally the Vatican!” Roberto, Promozione e Finanziamenti - Italy  

“Thank you for a lovely evening. It was nice to have the variety with music, performance and stalls and with free food and drink (I was driving though), the evening was very relaxed. Well done   and hopefully I’ll see you all at the event next year. Wonderful!” Angela Graham, Social Worker     “Congratulations on a fantastic event – it was really well organised, the entertainment was brilliant and it was   great to see so many exhibitors there.” Lance, Orb Events

Thank you!  



Issue 14 Respect Newsletter  

In this issue The Co-operative's award winning LGBT employee network Respect lets us all know about their 'Respect Celebration' event held o...

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