Thames Water team takes Pride in supporting London LGBT festival

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Pride parade 2019

Volunteers from Thames Water celebrated London’s LGBT community by handing out free tap water at the annual Pride festival on Saturday.

Water stations were manned by Thames Water employees with festival-goers, many wearing colourful and imaginative outfits, flocking to be rehydrated as temperatures in the capital reached around 23C.

The company was also offered a space on the float of engineering company Costain for the parade, where more than 30,000 people marched and danced from Portland Place to Whitehall.

Sarah Gosiewska, Thames Water’s HR and diversity manager, said: “We’re proud of our inclusive culture and working environment that inspires people to respect and value everyone, ensuring everyone feels comfortable to bring their whole selves to work and ultimately striving to provide a great service for our customers.”

The theme of this year’s parade was “jubilee” to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, where members of the New York LGBT community demonstrated against a police raid in Manhattan.

There were performances on a stage in Trafalgar Square by acts including Broadway actor Billy Porter, X Factor singer Saara Aalto and drag queen Willam Belli, as well as a women’s stage, cabaret stage, community village and “world area”.

Pride parade 2019

Thames Water, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, regularly supports Pride events and the London parade was the first of three the company will be participating in over the summer.

It will have a tanker at Pride in Swindon on August 10 and Reading on August 31, as well as marching in both parades and sponsoring Swindon’s community stage, the Stephen G Sloan stage.

Jenny Jones, who chairs Thames Water’s LGBT+ and allies network, said: “We’re proud to be ambassadors for Thames Water, championing and supporting LGBT+ people in our workforce and our local communities.

“We’re looking forward to meeting more of our customers and talking about all the work we do every day in the regions we serve.”

The first Pride event in London was run in 1972 and they now take place annually across the country. The parades are family-friendly days out that are open to everyone, whether they identify as LGBT or not.