Sunderland College scoops award for its work with LGBT staff and students

(from left) Arnie Tylor, chair of the board of trustees at Rainbow Foundation, Ryan Houston, executive of Rainbow Foundation, with Sunderland College representatives Steph Bloomfield, Stephen Day and Vikkie Morton, aand David Walker-Shears, trustee of Rainbow Foundation

(from left) Arnie Tylor, chair of the board of trustees at Rainbow Foundation, Ryan Houston, executive of Rainbow Foundation, with Sunderland College representatives Steph Bloomfield, Stephen Day and Vikkie Morton, aand David Walker-Shears, trustee of Rainbow Foundation

Sunderland College has been honoured for its commitment to supporting its lesbian, gay, bi and trans-sexual (LGBT) staff and students.

The college scooped the Creating Safer Learning Spaces for LGBT People accolade at the inaugural LGBT North East Awards.

Sunderland College staff Stephen Day and Steph Bloomfield with the Creating Safer Learning Spaces for LGBT People award

Sunderland College staff Stephen Day and Steph Bloomfield with the Creating Safer Learning Spaces for LGBT People award

It was praised for the work it has done in recent years to promote respect and equality for LGBT staff and students, and to make sure their college experience is a happy and safe one.

Vikkie Morton, assistant principal (Student and Customer Experience), said: “Winning this award is a great acknowledgement of the work staff and students have been doing at the college to make sure our LGBT community feels safe, welcome and understood.

“Our ethos is to have a friendly, inclusive community within our campuses, where we celebrate diversity and provide a range of support to all individuals.

“We have already instigated a number of changes to fully support LGBT people in our staff and student bodies, and we are continually looking for ways to improve the services we can offer in this area.”

Our ethos is to have a friendly, inclusive community within our campuses, where we celebrate diversity and provide a range of support to all individuals.

Vikkie Morton

The awards, organised by the Rainbow Foundation - which works to improve the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in the region - were held at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters in Washington.

In their feedback, judges said they were ‘pleased with the progression that the college has made in previous years and the fact that it continues to develop further to help create a safer environment for LGBT students’.

The college holds monthly meetings for LGBT students, discusses LGBT issues within its Equality and Diversity Committee, and promotes and celebrates events such as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and Pride.

It has also set up blog and forum pages for staff and students, revised official documents to allow for name and gender changes and assisted in the creation of policy documents that are LGBT friendly.