Leading businesses across Belfast kicked off 2019’s Pride celebrations in style to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace for employees and also give a boost to worthwhile causes.

The popular ‘Out on the Roof’ initiative, now in its fourth year, is a summer networking event for like-minded businesses who recognise the important contribution that the LGBT+ community makes to the Northern Ireland economy.

The event has grown year on year and is sponsored by Allen & Overy, Pinsent Masons and Santander with further support from Allstate, Liberty IT, CME Global, KPMG, Royal Mail and Citi.

‘Out on the Roof’ has raised £65K to support the work of LGBT+ projects since its launch four years ago. This year, two local charities Sail NI and The Rainbow Project are set to receive £15K towards their work.

For many companies, diversity and inclusion has become a core part of their business offering and a key consideration for potential employees as they develop their own careers. A richly diverse workforce can help promote creativity, increase productivity, boost engagement and help foster stronger client relationships.

‘Out on the Roof’ it is an important occasion that encourages the business sector to help evolve a Northern Ireland that is both equal and inclusive.

Angela Clist, Allen & Overy Partner says: “As a firm we are proud of the progress we have made in relation to LGBT+ inclusion and work hard to ensure our support for our LGBT+ colleagues is practised in our offices across the world. In Belfast we are always keen to collaborate with others in our sector and clients because we appreciate the role business can play in driving change in society.”

John O’Doherty, Director at The Rainbow Project says: “The Rainbow Project are delighted to once again be a beneficiary of OUT on the Roof and would like to thank the organisers, sponsors and everyone who attended. The funds raised through this event will help our organisation deliver front line services to LGBT people across Northern Ireland – services that literally save lives. We would also like to thank these businesses for their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. This commitment contributes to a happy and productive workforce and helps in attracting global talent to Northern Ireland as well as ensuring LGBT people can bring their full selves to an open and inclusive workplace.

Nicola Doran Director of SAIL NI comments: “Sail families and everyone we work with  are absolutely delighted to be involved with this year’s event and grateful to all the partners for naming us as a beneficiery of this amazing fund raising initiative. It is so important for businesses to consider their own diversity and how inclusive they are as an employer and service provider. It sends such an affirming message across all the community and promotes a brilliant positive image of this country where we live. Being included in this event told us clearly, we see you, you are not alone, you matter and that is just invaluable.”

The event was held in the Ivory Restaurant with guests including Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Peter McReynolds. Attendees were treated to top class entertainment, cocktail, canapés and a silent auction for a range of prizes including a signed Derry Girls script.

The Rainbow Project works to improve the physical, mental & emotional health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people in Northern Ireland. (www.rainbow-project.org)

SAIL is a vibrant regional organisation created by families for families, working with individuals and across services to improve the life course perspective of Trans people and their families. (sailni.com)

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