To celebrate Pride Month, the Tudor Group recognises the members of the LGBTQ+ community who form part of its network of colleagues. Amongst these individuals are Andrew Flanagan, a credit controller, and Julie Chamberlain, a cleaner with Solutions FM who operate under the Tudor Group umbrella.
Their stories define the spirit of inclusion and diversity that can be found across the business.
Andrew’s journey with The Tudor Group is as unique as it is inspiring. Having served in various roles in different industries since the ’90s, he found his home in the FM sector and says he is fond of the Tudor Group’s warm and welcoming ethos.
“The Tudor Group wasn’t a random pick for me. There’s a familial atmosphere here, a sense of belonging that I hadn’t found elsewhere,” Andrew reflected.
How Far We’ve Come
It was only in the 1980s, remembers Andrew, that Pride and associated events were much more a rebellious affair. The country still had some way to go to reach a point of equality for those within the LGBTQ+ community.
“It wasn’t until 2010, as part of the Equality Act that we reached legal footing with the rest of society”, says Andrew, “and even then, that was only from a legal standpoint. That doesn’t necessarily change everyone’s views and attitudes overnight.
“And it’s important to remember that there are many places in the world where oppression is rife and that we ought to use Pride as a reminder that we still have a way to go before we have total equality in society.”
In parallel, Julie also shared her journey with Solutions FM, highlighting the importance of being able to be herself at work. “Inclusion means they can feel comfortable to be themselves and not have to hide any part of who they are,” she commented.
With the Tudor Group, they found an employer that for both Andrew and Julie, was a place where they could thrive professionally whilst being unequivocally themselves. As Julie points out, this is a key aspect of Pride Month: “It’s a celebration of who you are and a celebration of love – no matter who you are, love is love, isn’t it?”
Workplace inclusivity, however, is more than just acceptance. As Andrew points out, “Your voice is heard – that’s a major part of inclusion. The Tudor Group has given me that platform where my opinions matter and where I can voice my thoughts without fear.
“The workplace is where we spend most of our waking hours and where we invest time and knowledge. So it’s vital that people can be themselves in the workplace, and you can’t have people feeling afraid or victimised.
“By making the workplace a diverse place, it becomes a healthier place both physically and mentally.”
At the Tudor Group, Andrew found more than just professional fulfilment.
The Support Is There
He found support during personal crises as well. When his partner suffered a stroke, the Tudor Group made every possible accommodation, allowing Andrew the flexibility to work from home and the time off he needed.
“When life hit me hard, my employer stood by me, ensuring that my professional life didn’t crumble. That level of support is something I am incredibly grateful for,” he shared.
Julie mirrored these sentiments, commending the supportive and inclusive culture of Solutions FM and the Tudor Group:
“I’ve never come across any negativity about my sexuality while at work, so I suppose that shows that the company has an inclusive culture. It’s not something I’ve had to worry about in this job, I have had to be a little less open in other workplaces, so I think that’s what makes Solutions FM a good employer, as that’s not the case here.”
When asked why they take pride in working for Tudor, both Andrew and Julie were candid. “They believed in me. Even with an extensive career gap due to illness, they chose to invest in me. And through every difficulty, every challenge, they’ve been there, accommodating and understanding. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this team,” Andrew said.
Julie also expressed her pride in working for the group, saying, “Yes, it’s a good place to work; I enjoy it. They have a great culture.”
There’s Much More To Do
As heartening as these stories are, it’s important to ground them in the broader context.
Statistics provide a sobering reflection of the challenges that many in the LGBTQ+ community still face in the workplace. A Stonewall UK study, for example, found that more than a third (35 per cent) of LGBTQ+ staff have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination.
The same study shows that almost one in five LGBTQ+ employees (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the past year.
According to a study from the LGBTQ+ charity Just Like Us, almost a quarter of LGBTQ young adults earn less than their straight peers.
These figures highlight the critical importance of employers like the Tudor Group, who are actively fostering inclusive environments. However, they also remind us that there is much work to be done.
Be Part Of The Solution
At Tudor Group, we strive to be part of the solution to these challenges by continuing to celebrate and uplift diverse voices like Andrew and Julie’s. That’s why we will keep fighting discrimination through how we treat our workforce.
As Andrew says: “It’s important that we continue to have that strength and resilience now as we did in the early days of the protests.
“Pride Month and Pride events are all very useful in keeping us all focussed towards our ultimate goal of equality for all.”
Pride Month is not only a celebration but also a moment of reflection as we appreciate the strength of our diverse workforce and recommit ourselves to fostering an environment where everyone can thrive.
Would you like to join a diverse and inclusive workforce that values everyone for their talents? Reach out to us for more information on our recruitment process and current vacancies.