MHA is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), whether it be a person's gender, age, religious belief, race, or sexual orientation. We believe that it is important we celebrate the unique differences that each individual brings to MHA – whether they are a colleague, resident, member or volunteer.

As part of our efforts to promote and celebrate diversity, Laurel Court Chaplain Alma Fritchley has spoken out about what it’s like to be part of the MHA family as a member of the LGBT community.

Speaking about her experiences, Alma said: "For 36 years I worked as a Civil Servant working for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and I thought I’d be there forever. Clearly, God had other ideas!

"Taking a new career path, I decided to pursue my BA in Contextual Theology degree, which I finally achieved last year after eight years of part time study. During that time I worked with a gentleman who was living with dementia which led me to my lightbulb moment… 'how about combining my BA and my experience at work?'.

"Enter MHA and Laurel Court.

"Initially I had my doubts. As an out lesbian in a committed marriage and a Minister in training with the United Reformed Church – and having been on major protest marches including Pride marches – I was unsure of the ethos of MHA on gay issues. After all, some of my most difficult conversations have been around other Christians and the difficulty some have around this. Some of my biggest personal rejections have been around my sexual orientation too.

"However, I was thrilled to be proven wrong and even more thrilled to realise MHA embraces diversity to the extent where we embrace the LGBT by celebrating Pride and LGBT History Month.

"There are assumptions that people 'of a certain age' will not be willing to accept such diversity. Well, I'm 64 and 'of a certain age' so am equally thrilled that both staff and the residents who enquire are accepting of me too."

Celebrating LGBT History Month, MHA’s homes, schemes and offices have been taking part in a festival of colour by knitting rainbow flags baking colourful and tasty treats, discussing which famous people from the LGBT community inspire us most and everything in between. See a slideshow below showing our highlights from the month.

MHA is currently developing its EDI Strategy which will involve and seek the views and support of residents, colleagues and volunteers from right across the organisation.

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