Jun 2024

Pride Month: Pride in what we do

As part of Pride Month, we're sharing stories from previous editions of Gi which look at the Pride community and the work ongoing in the gas industry to be more inclusive.

In the June/July 2021 edition of Gas International, we shared article on how Cadent is making their workplace more inclusive. Read the full article below...

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Dan Forth, HR Director – People Services and Sponsor of Pride at Work, explains the work Cadent is undertaking to ensure its workforce reflects the communities it serves.

As the UK’s largest gas distribution network, we play a crucial role in making sure our customers are kept safe and warm.

Every day and night, our teams work together to make sure the energy you need is there when you need it. To truly respond to our customers’ needs, it’s vital that our workforce reflects the communities we serve.

There are historical challenges within the energy and utilities sector to inspire and attract a diverse pipeline of talent, but that shouldn’t, and doesn’t, stop us from driving change to create greater levels of equality, diversity and inclusion in our organisation.


We take Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) seriously. We have taken great strides to strengthen our position over the last 15 months towards our vision.

Creating a culture where people feel valued, included, like they belong and have equal opportunities to succeed and be themselves is key to building and retaining a safe, happy and collaborative workforce.

This isn’t a standalone or HR-driven change, it’s something we’re weaving into the fabric of who we are as a business and all our people practices.

We are working to ensure our people are empowered to collaborate and drive change. One of the ways in which we do this is though our employee-led communities:

EMBRACE Raising awareness and discussing issues that affect colleagues from multiple faiths and colleagues who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.

PRIDE AT WORK For members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community at Cadent

WOMEN IN CADENT Networking group driving gender equality, welcoming all genders

CADENT MILITARY COMMUNITY Active military network within Cadent for ex[1]military, reservists and those with friends and/or family in the Armed Forces

THRIVE Our newest community, Thrive is an employee-led community created to raise awareness of and support people with disabilities within Cadent

These communities are run by employees, for employees. They have sponsorship and senior representation, and work collaboratively on intersectional inclusion initiatives.

Each community has different challenges, however together we tackle these issues as a collective, as in doing so we can make powerful changes to our organisation.

We have continued to grow and transform our business throughout 2020/21, with our number of employees increasing from 4,000 to 6,000+, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are committed to creating an increasingly inclusive work environment, while supporting those that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and helping to rebuild the economy and the communities we serve.


Ensuring an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) employees across our business is a key part of our EDI strategy.

We are committed to raising awareness and educating our people and communities about LGBTQ+ issues, while supporting our LGBTQ+ external communities and families.

Our commitment reflects our core values and beliefs; that our colleagues should be celebrated as their authentic selves, in order to shape our culture and effectively support the communities we serve.

Pride Month (June) is incredibly important to us. Whilst we acknowledge that society has become more understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, the community still suffers from prejudice.

Our Pride at Work community is central to our commitment to support LGBTQ+ colleagues, customers and stakeholders.

We have increased the visibility of Pride at Work through written content and live virtual ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, ensuring that the LGBTQ+ community’s voice is heard.

We are now turning our attention to this year’s Pride Month as an opportunity to share lived experiences and drive meaningful discussion.

We have also invested in trans awareness training to educate our organisation about how best to support the trans community.


Connecting people: Our LGBTQ+ network

We will continue to connect our Pride at Work community and allies for networking, mentoring and information sharing.

We are developing our culture of collaboration, innovation and high performance to drive better outcomes for our colleagues and customers.

The support we offer to LGBTQ+ communities is key to making us an employer of choice, offering rewarding and inclusive careers to people in the communities we serve.

Attracting and retaining the best LGBTQ+ talent

We strive to attract and retain LGBTQ+ employees in order to embrace diversity throughout our business.

Our Pride at Work community is run by our employees and senior leaders, and together with our recruitment team the community is working to widen our LGBTQ+ talent pool. We are also building our understanding of how to become a trans-affirming workplace.

To support local communities and inspire future generations, we have recently proactively contributed to talks at universities about LGBTQ+ experiences in the workplace.

Diversity in our supply chain

Up to 75 per cent of the work we deliver is though our extended supply chain, which we have a huge opportunity to influence in terms of equitable, diverse and inclusive practices. We are on a journey to develop relationships with a diverse portfolio of businesses in order to grow and strengthen our supply chain.

We will reinforce our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.

We are building our foundations internally, with a view to providing support and mentoring to LGBTQ+ owned businesses, or support businesses within our supply chain regarding LGBTQ+ topics.

The LGBTQ+ network in action

While none of us could have anticipated the Covid-19 pandemic and the effect this has had on our progress, we are committed to adapting to the situation and continuing to drive change.

We are planning to attend our first ever Pride event this summer, where we will showcase all our employee communities.


Three members of our Pride Committee discuss their emotions on being LGBTQ+ and their experiences at Cadent.

Vincent Ryan


Just over 50 years ago, I would have been arrested in the UK for promoting the fact I was a gay male. Back then, it was inconceivable to think that gay people had the right to love, cohabit or even publicly show affection to anyone of the same sex.

Can you even begin to imagine the consequences for same-sex couples or single gay people being given the right to care for or adopt children who lack the two fundamental needs of all human beings: to be loved, and cared for?

It was a reality far from anyone’s mind at that time. Fast forward to present day and the opportunities open to the LGBTQ+ community are evident when it comes to practising the desire of most human beings on this planet; to be a carer or potential parent to a child who needs stability and love.

It is thanks to the many people before my time who fought for the right of equality that allowed me, as 35-year-old single gay male when I started my journey, to care for an amazing baby boy whilst building a career for myself.

There was always a worry when I started this journey that employers would view me less favourably for any promotion opportunities, given the fact I was on my own with Alfie.

That, coupled with being a gay male, made me believe that my desire to succeed professionally would be hindered massively by wanting to be a parent.

However, since joining Cadent, nothing could be further from my belief. I have never felt more supported in a career.

Time is given for me to do nursery drop-offs and pick-ups, and I have been offered opportunities that champion my professional ability, rather than question my ability given I juggle single family life with a busy professional life.

It is inspiring to see conversations starting to take place around diversity and inclusion, and with the right approach and education, we can move forward to be an employer where uniqueness is celebrated, which will remove the fear of staying hidden for fear of rejection. Change is possible.

Amber Denman

I have been with my partner for nearly 13 years now. She has a son - the best stepson anyone could ask for - and she is more than amazing.

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I found it extremely easy to share my sexuality with my colleagues at Cadent as I could see how inclusive the company is.

Yes, it is always a little scary to ‘come out’ to people you don’t know; you are scared of what people will think, what people will say.

But everyone I have met within Cadent has been so welcoming of my sexuality.

I am so lucky to be part of such a diverse company and to be part of the Pride at Work Committee to ensure everyone that works for Cadent feels as comfortable and welcomed as I did.

Reuben Clarke

Why is being an LGBTQ+ inclusive employer important? Well, for me, it makes or breaks my relationship with an employer.

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I have worked for companies that I did not feel I could be ‘out’ at and this made me unhappy and careful about what I said.

I felt that I could not be my true self and this, in turn, meant I contributed less to the organisation.

I have also worked for organisations that have diversity and inclusion groups, and state in their job adverts they are an equal opportunities employer, but when it comes down to the day-to-day, they miss the important things and instead treat inclusion as a box-ticking activity.

I can happily say Cadent is not one of those companies, the attitude here has allowed me to be my true self. More people at Cadent know I am gay and married to a man than members of my own family.

As well as the individual benefits that being an LGBTQ+ friendly employer provides to employees, there are also business benefits.

Inclusive policies and practices can attract candidates and customers who want to work with socially responsible businesses. LGBTQ+ people are more prone to be brand loyal.

According to a survey by Harris Interactive, 87 per cent of LGBTQ+ adults would consider purchasing from a brand that provided equal workplace benefits.

The survey also found that 23 per cent of LGBTQ+ adults have switched products or services because another company was more LGBTQ+ supportive – even if that brand was more expensive or less convenient.