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Sysco GB is set to sponsor Ashford’s first-ever Pride celebration, taking place on 22 June.

Ashford, in Kent, has been the home of Brakes for almost 50 years, with the wholesale depot contributing to 600 jobs in the local area.

Sysco’s Pride sponsorship is part of its wider Pride month programme, with Brakes depots featuring dedicated stands to offer advice and support to LGBTQ+ colleagues.

All Sysco businesses, including Brakes, Fresh Direct, Medina Foodservice and KFF, will show their public commitment by changing their logos to the inclusive rainbow flag for the duration of Pride month.

The wholesaler has also announced it will roll out its ‘progress Pride’ pedestrian crossings and signage to further sites, following the successful examples of the Fresh Direct Bicester and KFF’s Aylesford depots in 2023.

Spectrum, Sysco GB’s LGBTQ+ colleague group, will fundraise for AKT, a charity supporting displaced LGBTQ+ young people, as part of its 2024 programme.

Organisers of Ashford Pride said they were “incredibly grateful” that Brakes, “a long-standing business” in the area, was showing support.

“Ashford has been the home of Brakes for almost half a century, and we want to support our local community,” said Paul Nieduszynski, CEO of Sysco GB.

“This is a major step forward for us. Over the past few years, we’ve undertaken a range of events … but this is a real sea change in our Pride campaign.”

HR director Katrina Simpson-Haines added: “It’s so important that all of our colleagues can bring their whole selves to work, and that our business reflects our customers, consumers and communities.

“A diverse, inclusive and engaged business is a better business and while the celebrations are welcome, it’s feeling this day in and day out, that’s essential.

“Initiatives like the rollout of LGBTQ+ signage at our sites to promote inclusivity and safety, our Spectrum resource group building allies, and the continuation of leadership education that enable us all to support DE&I in teams and our communities.”