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Pride Staff Network

Information on how the University of Sunderland's Pride Staff Network has run between 2021-22.

What is the Pride Staff Network?

The Pride Staff Network (formally the All Identities Included Staff Network) was set up in 2019-20 as a way for community members and allies to be socially active while isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of August 2021:

  • 44 members attend the Pride Staff Network
  • 100% believe that the networks support the delivery of the University Value of Inclusion
  • 75% welcome allies to the group
Two women are drawing in a book, while one rests her head on the others shoulder.

90% agree that they create connections, a safe space, shared purpose, interests and sense of belonging for members

A man laughing with a woman.

100% agree that they are able to share problems, knowledge, ideas, situations and lessons

Two women hold up a rainbow flag.

80% agreed that they solve problems, bringing resources, processes and other ways of change to the University

One man putting his arms around another man in an affectionate way.

80% agree that they are a powerful voice and source for positive change, embedded across the whole University.

Chair of the Pride Network

Charlotte Feather

Academic Tutor

Four hands with their fists in the air, all wearing wristbands with rainbows on.

Our impact

The Pride Network submitted to the Stonewall Equality Index for which we received a bronze award demonstrating our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace for our LGBTQI+ staff.  

“Since 2020, the networks have evolved into a genuine support system for staff and a vehicle for institutional change. I am so proud to belong to a university with such a developed approach to staff networks and strong emphasis on inclusion. Despite the networks being a relatively new initiative, they have matured steadily into a very visible institutional priority and sit alongside other staff benefits at the core of the support offer. We are very lucky to have buy-in at Exec level, and an institutional appetite amongst staff to shape these networks and make them successful.”

Along with these tangible impacts the networks have written many articles and videos to raise awareness throughout the year a sample of which can be found here

A person waving the transgender flag

Inclusive or exclusive?

Reasons why members think the network should be inclusive include:

  • We should be open to people who might be on a journey of understanding where they might be in terms of identity.
  • Allies are important to help create more inclusion, and as a key support in helping raise awareness of issues and provide additional support for underrepresented groups.
  • The only way for any minority group to progress is to have allies.

Reasons why members think the network should be exclusive include:

  • It depends how much allies dominate the conversation or if they're there to learn. It gets tiring to have to constantly explain yourself and why you are the way you are to allies who don't know about your sexuality.
  • Reduces the feeling of it being a safe space. Allies should be included by being invited to some meetings only.
A student playing guitar in front of a rainbow balloon arch

Why do staff attend?

  • To learn and be challenged, share knowledge and meet like-minded people. 
  • To personally connect with others, to discuss relevant issues and to make sure I am doing all I can for others.
  • To help raise awareness of issues within the university
  • Connect with other LGBT+ people at the University; find out what the University is doing to support us.
  • I've never had the opportunity to be part of such a network through any previous employers, this gives me the opportunity to meet others in a comfortable space as well as promote the messages important to me
  • After being taught by Drew Dalton and progressing to work at the University I realised there was a place for me, and people like me.
  • Interest in expanding my understanding of issues, and also seeing how I can help coordinate activities.
Students talking

Other areas

  • 60% feel the network would benefit from a more structured action plan​
  • 60% feel the network would benefit from having assigned roles for individuals for example Chair, Events coordinator, note taker​
  • 70% would like to see the networks recognised in appraisals. 

Staff testimonials:

We asked the members of the Pride Staff Network their opinions.


"Some people might see the networks as "extracurricular" or something 'I don’t have time for' but they’re so eye opening and inspiring."

Stairs outside the Prospect building at Sir Tom Cowie campus

"The network has made me feel part of a community, I feel supported and part of a 'club' which has made my experience as a staff member even better."

City campus at dusk

"They really do have such a positive effect on the way you think and behave which can be applied in everyday life.​"

Contact us

We welcome feedback on Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Responsibility.

Please contact our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, justine.gillespie@sunderland.ac.uk or,
the Student Union LGBTQ+ Officer at yoursu@sunderland.ac.uk