POWYS County Council is set to become a “Proud Council” and join a network of Welsh local authorities who are inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.

This means that Powys becomes the first rural authority and the most northerly in Wales, to join the network.

The proposal was put forward at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, June 28, by deputy council leader Cllr Matthew Dorrance who is the cabinet member for a fairer Powys.

Cllr Dorrance said: “I am very pleased to see this on the agenda for our first cabinet meeting and in Pride month.

“As an openly LGBTQ+ person in this council it is important for us to do more to support our LGBTQ+ workforce and population in Powys.

“The Proud Council network is a group of local authorities in Wales who work together to be proactive in the work they do in terms of inclusion.

“We will be the first authority from outside South Wales and the first rural authority to join.

County Times: Cllr Matthew Dorrance.Cllr Matthew Dorrance.

“I think it’s really important on a number of fronts, LGBTQ+ people live in fear of discrimination and experience it both in the workplace our communities.”

He added that a study by Stonewall from 2018 highlighted the extent issues faced by LGBTQ+ people in the UK and internationally, where the death penalty still exists for in some parts of the world for people in a same sex relationship can

“We have a long way to go in terms of true equality in the world in this country where LGBTQ+ people are still being murdered and abused for who we are and who we love," said Cllr Dorrance.

Cabinet member for learning, Cllr Peter Roberts said: “This year is seeing the first formal pride marches in our county with the largest one probably in Llandrindod in a couple of weeks’ time – it’s highly appropriate that we as an organisation send out the message to all.

“I fully endorse this as part of our wider inclusivity and tolerance agenda.

Council leader Cllr James Gibson-Watt added: “I’m particularly delighted to see this, it’s a big step forward and shows Powys is leading the way on these issues.”

Cabinet unanimously approved the report.

Proud Councils was formed in 2015 to ensure that local government across Wales is a visible leader in the field of LGBTQ+ rights and actively championing LGBTQ+ inclusion in our communities.

Being involved in the partnership would allow Powys to:

  • have a coordinated approach to media messages around LGBTQ+ inclusion
  • staff to network with members from other local authorities
  • to share resources to ensure best value for money
  • to benefit from shared good practice.

The nine local authorities forming part of the Proud Councils partnership in Wales are:

  •  Blaenau Gwent.
  •  Bridgend,
  •  Caerphilly.
  •  Cardiff.
  •  Merthyr Tydfil.
  •  Newport.
  •  Rhondda Cynon Taf.
  •  Swansea.
  •  Torfaen.