Local NHS trust committed to improvement

“Everyone is welcome here”.

THIS is the message from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) as it submits an application to gain one of the UK’s most prestigious markers for LGBT+ workplace equality.

In February this year, BSUH made a clear commitment to building on its impressive performance in Stonewall’s 2019 Workplace Equality Index (WEI) scheme, where it was ranked 143 out of 445 entrants.

“This was an excellent foundation and starting point, but we wanted to go further.”

Denise Farmer
Denise Farmer

Denise Farmer, Chief Workforce and Organisational Development Officer for BSUH said: “We made a firm promise to our staff, and to our patients, that we would act on Stonewall’s guidance to improve our score and continue to make our trust better all the time.”

Since February, BSUH has worked at pace to address Stonewall’s recommendations. A few examples of work evidenced in the WEI Top 100 application include:

  • Partnering with Brighton and Sussex Medical School to run an LGBT+ focused healthcare learning and development seminar programme, tackling health inequalities experienced by LGBT+ individuals
  • Updating important Trust documents using gender neutral language, ensuring that they are equally applicable for all members of staff
  • Launching an LGBT+ Mentoring programme, addressing a national trend for LGBT+ staff to lag behind non-LGBT+ colleagues in workplace pay or progression
  • Publishing Staff Stories from LGBT+ colleagues throughout the organisation, supporting visibility of LGBT+ individuals at all levels from ‘Board to the Ward’
  • Progressing towards a pioneering approach to public sector recruitment, supporting all forms of diversity in the trust’s supply chains.

“This has been a substantial programme, and while there is still more to do, I’m proud of everything that we have been able to evidence,” continued Denise.

“Our focus is always on improving patient care. To do this, we need our staff to feel supported, to experience the benefits of working for a diverse organisation and to know that we do everything possible to help them deliver their best work.

“We have built on the work we launched last year to improve the workplace experience of our BME colleagues. That work is ongoing and everything it taught us has enriched our Stonewall application. This trust is on a journey of continuous improvement, and we are using every tool at our disposal to accelerate our progress.”

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust are the only NHS Trusts to appear in the list’s top 100.

The scores for this year’s WEI applications will be announced by spring 2020.

More information about support for LGBT+ individuals at BSUH can be found online:

Brighton Pride 2019 raises £217,432.50 for local good causes

Following Brighton & Hove Pride’s amazing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising in New York City that ignited and inspired the global Pride movement, Brighton & Hove Pride announce they have raised a fantastic £217,432.50 for local good causes.

Photo: James Daly
Photo: James Daly

EVERY year the city of Brighton & Hove is awash with rainbow flags as businesses show their support for Pride and our LGBT+ communities and an estimated £20.5 million is brought into the city’s economy with visitors spending money on accommodation, retail, food and drink over the Pride weekend.

Brighton businesses within the Pride Village Party footprint contributed £125 per day (small venue) or £250 per day (larger venue) that helped raise £7,520 towards the Pride Social Impact Fund.

Bucket collections on the Pride Community Parade raised £768.

Legends was again the biggest LGBT+ business supporter contributing £3,504.74 in fundraising and £5,000 in sponsorship.

This year, Brighton Pride introduced the Pride City Angels scheme to engage with businesses across the city to help support community fundraising and projects all year round. The launch of Pride City Angels saw a first year sign up of 26 businesses with founding members contributing £1,000 each, bringing in a further £10,750.

Paul Kemp
Paul Kemp

Paul Kemp, Pride Director, said: “With increasing costs this year for cleansing and security resources and the uncertainty around Brexit that adversely affected sponsorship income, it has been a really challenging year for Pride. This year Pride are thrilled to have raised over £200,000 which will be distributed to local charities community groups and projects through the Brighton Rainbow Fund, the Pride Social Impact Fund and Pride Cultural Development Fund.

“With over £922,000 raised under the current organisation, Pride are very much on target to reach £1million fundraising for good causes by 2020, the 30th Anniversary of Brighton & Hove Pride.”

Brighton & Hove Pride is the UK’s biggest Pride Festival operated by Brighton Pride CIC, a not for profit community organisation. All tickets revenue raised goes directly to the operational and running costs of producing the Pride Festival, Pride LGBT+ Community Parade, Pride Village Party and community fundraising, with £1 for every paid ticket going direct to the Brighton Rainbow Fund who give grants to LGBT+ organisations that deliver effective frontline services to LGBT+ people in the city.

How the funds will be distributed
• Brighton Rainbow Fund: £165,724.50
• Social Impact Fund: £20,958 (plus £10,000 roll over from 2018)
Total SIF fund allocation for 2019: £30.985
• City Angels: £10,750.00
• Pride Solidarity fund: £10,000
• Cultural development fund: £10,000

Eastbourne Rainbow lunch at Rottingdean Club

Over thirty members of Eastbourne Rainbow enjoyed a late summer outing to the historic village of Rottingdean at the beginning of September.

THE group enjoyed a great lunch at the Rottingdean Club and were made very welcome by the owner Phil Sherrington and his staff, after which, many members visited the Kipling Gardens, Grange Museum and Gallery to see the Kipling Room and the Cinema by the Sea exhibition in Rottingdean.

Eastbourne Rainbow which is part of AGE Concern Eastbourne is a social group for 50 plus LGBT+ people in Eastbourne and surrounding areas.

For more information about the group, when and where it meets click here: or text/leave message on 07516 670654.

Brighton Bear Weekend need your skills!

Brighton Bear Weekend (BBW) will be ten years old in 2020 and continues from strength to strength each year.

OVER the years, BBW has raised many tens of thousands of pounds for The Brighton Rainbow Fund and is a much loved event in the annual LGBT calendar, with around two thirds of participants coming from outside of the local area.

All BBW events, including the weekend, are run by hard-working volunteers, which helps the organisation maximises their charitable contribution.

The BBW team are looking to ramp up their marketing, with a focus on building a much bigger digital presence.  They are looking for people with skills in social media (organic and paid), content management and email to join the team now.

The Brighton Rainbow Fund give grants to LGBT+organisations that provide effective front line services to LGBT+ people in Brighton and Hove.

If you think you can help, please contact them on

BLAGSS tennis tournament attracts 36 players

BLAGSS tennis group held a round robin tennis tournament on Sunday August 11 at Hove Park Tennis Alliance, Hove Park with thirty six players taking part in doubles matches.

THE levels of the players ranged from tennis virgins to Park league standard. All matches were well grouped according to tennis standard which resulted in some excellent and exciting games.

The highest score of the round robin was achieved by Raffaela Kurz (ladies) and Matthew Morgan (mens).

BLAGSS tennis group is a sports and social group that has around 450 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members from across Brighton and Hove, Sussex and beyond.

BLAGSS members come in all different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities and participate in sports as varied as badminton, tennis, squash, golf, table tennis, running, tenpin bowling, football and cycling.

The tennis group was one of the original sports when BLAGSS started in 1997. It is a successful and friendly group with about 45 players in total who play tennis twice a week throughout the year, every Wednesday and Sunday from 11am to 1pm, weather permitting on the outdoor court at Hove Park tennis alliance.

They play short sets of doubles and some singles and then mix teams around with new partners and opponents so everyone gets variety, the chance to play against others of the same standard or higher.

John Moore
John Moore

John Moore, the chair of BLAGSS, presented the trophies to the winners and runners ups, congratulating the winners and organisers of the tournament for putting on such a great event.

The day ended with a picnic for over 40 players and their friends. Apparently Paul’s egg and cress sandwiches went down a treat at the picnic. The organisers hope to hold the same event the weekend after Pride 2020.

BLAGSS supports the Sussex Beacon who recently promoted their various sports in a window display at the Sussex Beacon store on St. James Street in Kemptown. All BLAGSS members contributed donations to the store.

For information about BLAGSS tennis group or other sports, click here:

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Brighton Bear Weekend announce 10th Anniversary dates for 2020

Brighton Bear Weekend (BBW) reveal dates for next years annual weekend event which will take place from Thursday, June 25, to Sunday June 28, 2020. Mark it in your diaries now as organisers promise it will be the best yet!

Brighton Bear Weekend 2019
Brighton Bear Weekend 2019

NEXT year BBW reaches a milestone and will be celebrating its 10th year fundraising. A full programme of events will be announced closer to the time, with some exciting new experiences being added to old favourites. As always next year’s event is proudly supporting The Brighton Rainbow Fund who give grants to local LGBT+ organisations what deliver effective front line services to LGBT+ people in Brighton and Hove.

Graham Munday
Graham Munday

Graham Munday, Chair of BBW said: “Ten years is an amazing achievement and we plan to celebrate with you all. We are already working away at BBW HQ and have some very exciting developments in the pipeline for the next year. So now is time to organise your accommodation, book those plane tickets, sort out your train routes and don’t forget to book the Monday off work, otherwise, you miss all the fun on Sunday! We are all really looking forward to seeing you here in Brighton and partying with you at the biggest Bear weekend in the country.”

Martlets to host special nurse recruitment day on September 28

Martlets is inviting local registered nurses and healthcare assistants – at all levels of experience – to visit the hospice in Hove for a Recruitment Day on Saturday, September 28, 2019.

THE Recruitment Day will offer nurses the chance to join a dedicated and friendly team working in a rewarding area of healthcare making a real difference to local people living with a life-limiting illness. Martlets nurses provide person-centred holistic care both at the hospice inpatient unit and in the community, spending time with patients and their family and friends giving them the care and support they need in the precious time they have left together.

A range of jobs are available offering full and part-time positions with flexible working hours, transition and career opportunities.

Nurses working for the hospice will be able to develop skills in palliative care in a supportive and fulfilling working environment.

Martlets nurse Teresa Evans said: “I’ve worked here for ten years and I love it because there’s a sense of satisfaction having time and opportunities to give first class care to the patients and their families and every day is different.”

To attend the recruitment day call 01273 273 400 or click here: to book a time slot at either 1pm-2pm or 2pm to 4pm for a tour of the hospice and to meet the Marlets team.

LETTER TO EDITOR: Labour must do better say the Greens

I’m horrified to see that Labour has allowed some of the UK’s biggest carbon polluters to host events at this year’s Labour Conference. More surprising is the fact that the party is allowing these companies to do so under the guise of caring about the environment, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Cllr Elaine Hills
Cllr Elaine Hills

HEATHROW Airport is simulating an ‘exclusive airport-style lounge’ in the Sandringham Room at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on September 23-24. The company’s doublethink is staggering: it plans to discuss ‘Parliament’s momentous decision in favour of Heathrow expansion’ while holding a ‘Big Environment Talk’. Heathrow is already the biggest single source of greenhouse gases in the UK, and a third runway will all but blow our chances of meeting our targets for cutting emissions.

So why are Labour, who say they are committed to ‘radically transform economically’ to focus on climate change, making space for events like this to happen?

Meanwhile, BP is hosting a public event along with the New Statesman: ‘Net zero: imagining a decarbonised UK’, at the Hilton on September 24. And there are reports alleging that Shadow Secretary for Business and Energy will be taking  part. As we all know, BP is one of the ‘Big 2’ global oil producers, making its huge profits out of polluting our air by pumping massive amounts of carbon into it daily. The company is responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, from which the environment will never recover.

Major fossil fuel companies like BP are hardly role models for tackling climate breakdown.  As Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, said: “BP and Shell have been barriers to climate action for years. These two fossil fuel dinosaurs are clinging to their out-dated and out-of-touch business models while the climate crisis worsens.” 

Furthermore, while Shell has stated that it plans to take steps to reduce the carbon footprint of the fuel it produces, BP has said taking responsibility for the fuels its customers use would limit the flexibility the company needs.

Does Labour really think that a company with such a blatant disrespect for the natural world is a suitable advocate of good environmental practice and deserves a platform?

By allowing these events to take place, the message Labour is putting out to our biggest polluters is business as usual. As Greens, we know radical transformation to a carbon-zero economy is key to avoiding the most damaging effects or climate change. It is because of the poor practices of companies like these that we need such dramatic action in order to survive.

This is very disappointing – and we expected better from Labour.

Elaine Hills

Green Councillor for Hanover and Elm Grove
on behalf of the Green Group of Councillors, Brighton and Hove City Council


Rugby legend reveals his HIV status

Rugby legend Gareth Thomas announces he is living with HIV.

THE former rugby captain of Wales revealed his HIV status in an emotional video posted on social media prior to his taking part in the Iron Man Wales event this weekend.

The 45 year old ex-British and Irish Lions rugby skipper speaks out about his “shame” and “fear” of keeping his status secret and reveals at his lowest point in 2018 he felt suicidal and wanted to die.

Gareth is due to talk about his diagnosis in a BBC Wales documentary on Wednesday, September 18.

In the documentary he says that by revealing his status he hopes to “educate and break the stigma for everybody.”

Ian Green
Ian Green

Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust the national HIV charity, said: “I’m very proud to call Gareth Thomas a friend. Gareth is proof that an HIV diagnosis shouldn’t stop you from doing anything you want to do – whatever that is. I hope that by speaking publicly about this Gareth will transform attitudes towards HIV that are all too often stuck in the 1980s.

“We’ve made huge medical advances in the fight against HIV that means that people living with HIV like Gareth now live long healthy lives. We can also say without doubt that those and on effective HIV treatment can’t pass on the virus. This is exactly the kind of information Gareth wants to get out there to challenge the stigma that still surrounds this virus.

“Gareth blazed a trail by being the first rugby player to come out as gay and has done so much to encourage inclusion and diversity within the sport. Now he is doing that once again with HIV and taking on the challenge of a lifetime in Ironman Wales to show that this virus doesn’t need to be a barrier when you’re diagnosed and accessing treatment.”

In a message on Twitter, Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party, wrote: “Gareth Thomas has again shown enormous strength in declaring himself HIV positive. A role model challenging stigma and prejudice. His example offers hope and resolve to others. Solidarity.”

Abseil from i360 to raise funds for Samaritans

Thirty intrepid volunteers will abseil down Brighton’s iconic vertical pier, the British Airways i360, on September 21 to raise funds for the Brighton, Hove and District Samaritans branch.

THIS will be the biggest event in the local charity’s fundraising calendar and Brighton, Hove and District Samaritans is hoping to raise a whopping £15,000 from this one spectacular event.

The Brighton branch of Samaritans is responsible for all their fund-raising throughout the year. The branch supports people in the city of Brighton and Hove, as well as along the coast to Shoreham to the West, Newhaven in the East, and over the South Downs to the north including Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Lewes plus the surrounding villages.

In order to provide this vital service the Brighton, Hove and District branch needs to raise £75,000 a year to keep the branch open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Not only Samaritans volunteers will be taking part in this event; there are also heroic people from local businesses who are taking it upon themselves to step out of the pod at 162 metres in order to raise funds for the local Samaritans branch.

There will be fifteen people from One Family as well as nine workers from Legal and General and one courageous worker from local coffee company Small Batch.

The event starts at 6.00pm with the first two people stepping out of the pod to begin the long decent at around 6.30pm. Organisers hope the last two fearless folk will be on their way down the ropes at around 9.00pm. Brighton, Hove and District Samaritans will be making sure there is a carnival atmosphere at the base to welcome them down and encourage the local community to pop along to watch and show their support for the charity and all the abseiling volunteers.

If you would like to donate to this fantastic event and your local Samaritans branch, as well as seeing who is taking part, click here: