By Andrew Holt

As Stonewall celebrated its largest ever presence at a London pride event, Lloyds Banking Group announced it would provide substantial support for the charity’s Youth Volunteering Programme.

Over 160 lesbian, gay and bisexual young people heard a speech from the Deputy Prime Minsiter, Nick Clegg, at Stonewall’s Pride Brunch before the parade – the first of a series of youth events that will benefit from Lloyds Banking Group’s support.

Around 300 people, including many Lloyds staff, carried ‘Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!’ placards in seven languages as they marched to support Stonewall’s campaign for equal marriage.

Stonewall’s Youth Volunteering Programme, supported by Lloyds Banking Group, helps lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have an impact on the wider gay community.

It has worked directly with hundreds of young people since 2008. Lloyds’ support will enable Stonewall to deliver workshops and mentoring to young people and to continue its Youth Awards.

Nick Clegg said: "As night follows day, when times are tough and people feel anxious it's often a climate in which bigotry, homophobia and prejudice increase.

"I pay tribute to Stonewall for everything you do every day to stand up for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.' Mr Clegg also repeated the government's commitment to extending the legal form of marriage to same-sex couples. 'There's lots of argy-bargy on that at the moment,' he said, 'but it will happen. We will get there."

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: "Generous support from thousands of individual supporters and organisations like Lloyds Banking Group help Stonewall make a real difference to millions of gay people worldwide.

"Stonewall supporters’ contributions will only ever be spent on things that matter – which is precisely why we’ve never spent a penny on a Pride float."

Fiona Cannon, diversity & inclusion director at Lloyds Banking Group, said: "The Youth Volunteers will help to make a positive and lasting change in the fight against homophobia and biphobia, and we’re incredibly proud to be playing a part in this.

"We already have a strong reputation as an inclusive employer and this partnership is a great opportunity for us to ensure we have a wider positive impact in the communities we serve."

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Other stories you may find of interest:

Research reveals concerns over homophobic language
New research carried out by the University of Cambridge for Stonewall’s School Report 2012 has found that 55 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils in Britain’s secondary schools experience homophobic bullying. The research, based on a national survey of 1,614 young people, also found that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of gay young people have attempted to take their own life, and more than half (56 per cent) deliberately harm themselves.

Guide calls on global employers to champion gay equality
Stonewall today launches a pioneering guide for global employers with gay staff working on overseas assignments. The guide, which is supported by Google, provides practical advice on supporting staff who are working in countries that lack legal protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual people as strong as those in the UK. Stonewall’s new guide – Global Working – is based on the experience of global members of its Diversity Champions programme, which engages over 600 employers who have 10 million staff worldwide.

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