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We know that the last year has been hard on our community – many LGBTQ+ people have felt isolated and cut off, but with restrictions easing and more time spent with family, friends and loved ones this year’s Pride season has been one with even more heart.

 Importantly, we’re all holding particularly close the sense of togetherness that Pride inspires. I know this to be true for myself and across our teams at M&S, as we want our LGBTQ+ colleagues and customers to always feel they can be themselves – not just during Pride, but all year-round. That’s why our message this year is ‘Show your PRIDE – always!”.

Whilst many Pride marches are delayed until later in the year, that hasn’t stopped us from thinking up different ways to come together. Celebrating through our store-led Pride Festival it’s been fantastic to see our colleagues show off their pride and have some fun (check out your store’s local Facebook page to see what they’ve been up to!). Over the week we’ve hosted a series of virtual workshops and interactive sessions to help give all our colleagues a platform to speak and learn. From sessions on becoming an ally for the LGBTQ+ community, to hearing about colleagues’ own experiences, there’s been so many amazing stories shared and we want to continue to celebrate these throughout the year.

Within our teams, our internal LGBTQ+ colleague network plays a huge role. It’s fantastic to have this community available to share stories, ideas and support. Together our colleagues are helping make sure M&S is an inclusive and the best place possible to work – one of the positives of the last year is that the pandemic has pushed us to use technology differently, allowing us to stay even more connected and keep growing our community, wherever our colleagues are based. 

We also want to support the causes that matter most to our colleagues and customers so that, together, we can help spark change. Through our Sparks charity scheme, we support akt – the national LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity – all year-round by donating every time customers shop with us in-store and online. Since 2018, our donations have helped akt support more young people especially during the pandemic. And to help our customers make a bigger difference this Pride, we’re doubling our Sparks donations to akt throughout June. 

However you’re marking Pride, I hope M&S can be a part of your celebrations and we’ll continue to march forward together, whether in store, at home or within our communities.