I hope it’s not too late to say: happy new year!

The Civil Service LGBT+ Network has continued to deliver an incredible amount of activity over the past 12 months. We have even bigger plans for 2022. The new year felt like a good opportunity to reflect on that and provide you with some updates on plans for this year.

What we achieved in 2021

We did lots of work and supported civil servants all over the country, but some of the highlights for me included:

  • an award winning mentoring programme. We launched the Civil Service’s first mentoring programme for LGBT+ civil servants last year. More than 850 people have taken part across 80 departments and agencies. Last month, the programme won the Developing and Supporting Award at the Civil Service Awards 2021.
  • celebrating important dates. We celebrated and marked important dates in the LGBT+ calendar throughout the year, including LGBT History Month, Lesbian Visibility Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance and more.
  • keeping PrideON, again. Our virtual Pride programme – PrideON – returned for a second year with a range of online events taking place throughout the summer.
  • restarting our socials. Our in-person social events started to return in the latter part of the year. We held successful social and networking events in Bristol, Liverpool, London and Manchester.
  • building on BiSpace. Our BiSpace programme continued to develop and provide a space for bi+ civil servants, by bi+ civil servants. A new AceSpace also started to take shape, led by civil servants on the asexual and aromantic spectrum.

Our network only achieves this because of people stepping up and taking ownership to deliver everything you see us do. None of this would have been possible without our volunteer team; so thank you to all of them!

What we will do next

This year we hope to achieve even more. In November, we published a forward plan of our work and programmes. We think it’s an ambitious but realistic plan, and we have lots of new team members giving up their time to help us to do it.

I wanted to draw attention to a few of the milestones coming up.

1. Civil Service Pride

We have started to plan a hybrid Pride programme for 2022.

If Pride events resume in their traditional fashion this year, the Civil Service LGBT+ Network intends to join marches and parades across the UK. Alongside that, we will be continuing to host a slightly smaller programme of online events and activities, so that no matter where you live you have something you can get involved with during Pride season.

Our Vice-Chair for Pride, Marc Fitchett, will be leading this work alongside our local organisers and other volunteers. If you want to get involved in organising the in-person or digital programme, please get in touch.

We will also be discussing initial plans at our Leaders of Networks Forum event later this month, which is open to chairs, vice-chairs and committee members of departmental networks.

2. LGBT+ Conference

James Jefferson wrote in December about our plans to create a new annual conference focused on workplace inclusion and career development. Like our pride activity, we are aiming to make this a fully hybrid conference.

We need a lot of help to make this possible and James is putting a team together, so get in touch with James if you want to be involved.

3. Mentoring

Following last year’s mentoring programme success, we’re planning to run it again this year. Our ambition is to re-open the programme again in April 2022 – a little earlier than last year, to avoid the summer holidays. A small team led by our new Vice Chair for Career Development, Dee, is currently being formed around this programme to take over from the work I did last year, so if you’d like to be involved with that, please email Dee directly.

4. Expanding our local presence

Another of our Vice-Chairs, Ed, wrote last month that our local organisers help us to have a local presence and a national influence. We’re looking to double up on volunteers in each region and nation this year, so that we can deliver social and networking opportunities, learning and development opportunities and pride activities in every part of the UK.

Team is already growing. If you want to join them, please email Ed directly.

5. More space for Spaces

Finally, I want to highlight the development of new ‘Spaces’ to join BiSpace and AceSpace this year. Our current programmes have made our network a broader and more inclusive tent, and I hope that the work we will be doing to create similar space for trans and non-binary people (led by Alan Edwards), women, people with minority ethnicities, and allies (led by Leah Cunnah) will expand that great work.

Contact the lead vice chair if you’d like to involve yourself with those programmes of activity. We’re looking for someone to lead our women’s inclusion work in particular at the moment – if you think that should be you, email me directly.

Get involved

I am really excited about all of these things, and the rest of the activity we hope to achieve in our business plan. We can achieve more when everyone pitches in; so if you have the energy and capacity to help, please do contact the relevant lead.

For now, have a great start to 2022 and I hope to see you (in person or virtually) at our events throughout the year.