Volunteers from Thames Water will show their support for Swindon’s LGBT community by handing out free tap water at the town’s Pride festival on Saturday.
The company, which is a Stonewall Diversity Champion, regularly supports Pride events and will be attending the Swindon celebration as part of a series over the summer.
Festival-goers have been encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles to the event which can be topped up at the refill points supplied by Thames Water, cutting down on single-use plastic waste in the process.
As well as rehydrating visitors, Thames Water employees will be marching in the parade at 11.15am and sponsoring the festival’s community stage, the Stephen G Sloan stage.
They will also have a range of rainbow-themed items available at the event, with the profits made matched by Thames Water before being donated to LGBT charities.
Sarah Gosiewska, Thames Water’s HR and diversity manager, said: “We’re proud of our inclusive culture and working environment that inspires people to respect and value everyone, ensuring everyone feels comfortable to bring their whole selves to work and ultimately striving to provide a great service for our customers.”
The annual festival will see hundreds of people take part in the parade through the Old Town district, while musicians will also perform on three different stages throughout the day.
Acts on the Stephen G Sloan stage include cover singer Donners, the Dimensions reggae quartet and three-piece Bots.
This year’s event has a theme of “Festival of Visibility”, with businesses in the town encouraged to create their own colourful displays and a 50m-long rainbow flag travelling along the parade route.
Jenny Jones, who chairs Thames Water’s LGBT+ and allies network, said: “We’re proud to be ambassadors for Thames Water, championing and supporting LGBT+ people in our workforce and our local communities.
“We’re looking forward to meeting more of our customers and talking about all the work we do every day in the regions we serve.”
Thames Water volunteers also handed out water at London Pride in July and will have a tanker at the event in Reading on August 31, as well as marching in the parade through the town.
Plastic bottles make up 10 per cent of all litter found in the River Thames and can take between 500 and 1,000 years to break down. In an independent taste test carried out earlier this year, many consumers were unable to tell the difference between Thames Water’s tap water and bottled water, with the latter on average being 500 times more expensive.