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Setting up LGB staff group in Staffordshire in 03


“I then went to work for in '95. Very much to everyone’s surprise, Staffordshire police had quite a thriving lesbian and gay group and it was after talking to them I set up in 2003. I went through all the proper channels and set it up as a recognised group that could meet in County Council time. I gained the support of my director because I worked in social care and health, and I organised an informal group that met at lunch times initially, just from within our directorate so that I knew I’d got people that were interested and then I had to go and meet all of the deputy directors to get permission to do this. They were actually quite supportive and so I then launched this group which outed me to about ten thousand people all at once, and more later when my picture appeared in the County Council staff magazine. I then went on and ran it until I retired in July of this year, 2007. It had about sixty members which out of a workforce including teachers, of 30 000, isn’t that many, but despite our numbers we were quite influential. Always our purpose was to not just be a support group but also to influence County Council policy and practice, so we had our input into things like community safety and the police. We actually had an open event during the County Council’s equality month one year, which quite a few people came to, including people from other organisations. I didn’t have enough time to run as good a group as I would have liked, but we nevertheless met pretty well every month.”

Contributed by: Gill Coffin, 63

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