Orbit Group has signed up to the HouseProud Pledge, a scheme for social housing providers to demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQ+ resident equality and support, as part of its ambition to create an equality, diversity and inclusion policy created for customers, by customers.
Orbit’s vision is to lead in building thriving communities, and that means communities which are fair and equal to all. Orbit’s commitment to the HouseProud Pledge aims to send a strong signal to all members of the LGBTQ+ community that they are valued and respected just as they are. The Pledge provides a framework for landlords to work with involved residents to take action against discrimination and tokenism, and demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQ+ equality and support.
Commenting on Orbit’s commitment, Francis Burrows, Head of Independent Living and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, said: “As a business we’re driven to provide an accessible and inclusive service for all our customers and to create a diverse and inclusive workplace where all our colleagues feel safe, respected and valued.
“Our home and community should be the place where we can all freely express who we are without fear or prejudice, but sadly that isn’t always the case. Research shows that many members of the LGBTQ+ community often feel the need to hide or disguise their sexual orientation from visitors, repairmen or housing officers, and that simply isn’t right.
“Signing up to the Pledge is a strong signal of our commitment, but we want to do more. We want to better understand what we can do to support our LGBTQ customers and are appealing for customers to work with us to help shape our equality, diversity and inclusion policy, so we can better support them and their communities.”
Signing up to the Pledge comes on the back of Orbit’s internal Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) programme, which has seen the business create EDI Allies, representatives from across the business who help shape Orbit’s internal approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.
Francis adds: “We are rightly proud of the diversity of our colleagues. We have created forums for colleagues to connect, ask questions and gain support, and delivered EDI training for all colleagues and managers. Our EDI Allies have also been working with partners both in and out of sector to shape our policies and processes, share best practice and explore ways that we can further encourage workforce diversity, and our approach is really gaining momentum.
“We want to build that same momentum with our customers and in our communities too, and are appealing for more engaged customers to join our EDI Customer Hub to help shape our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion and help us be the best organisation we can for LGBTQ+ people.”
Any customers who would like to get involved in helping shape Orbit’s equality, diversity and inclusion policy are encouraged to find out more by visiting the Orbit Customer Hub Get Involved page.