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28 February 2019

“Over the course of our careers we’ll spend over 85,000 hours at work, so it’s really important that we feel able to be ourselves”

February was LGBTQ+ history month. This is a month celebrated to recognise equality in the LGBTQ community and the theme this year is peace, activism and reconciliation. Here’s a message from our very own Hannah (Corporate Responsibility Manager) who talks about what inclusion means to her and what she’s doing at Camelot to help the LGBTQ+ community feel comfortable to bring their whole self to work…..


My interest in the impact that business can have on society, both positive and negative, was sparked over a decade ago - when studying anthropology and sociology at university. I then spent several years working for an organisation called Business in the Community (BITC), where I was fully inducted into the world of Corporate Responsibility, and where I learnt about the elements needed to help business be a force for good in society.

It was through BITC that I was introduced to Camelot, a fantastically interesting and unique business. One that has an impressively positive impact on society through giving to good causes but also carries a responsibility, as the guardian of the National Lottery, to ensure that we create a safe environment for our players, that we reduce excessive play where possible and that we promote healthy play. And the latter is what takes up most of my working day, its endlessing intriguing and very satisfying. But I also have a personal passion for diversity and inclusion.

Over the course of our careers we’ll spend over 85,000 hours at work, so it’s really important that we feel able to be ourselves, that we don’t feel like we have to censor a part of ourselves whether that be to do with a disability, mental health problems, carer duties, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

But that’s not exactly how I felt when I first started at Camelot, and like many people I put a foot back in the closet when it came to my sexuality. And not because of anything anyone said or did but a worry, well and truly embedded in my psyche for lots of reasons, that I’d get uncomfortable reactions, or awkward questions, or that I would inadvertently embarrass a brand new colleague.

So at the very beginning I did find myself sometimes, not always, avoiding talking about my girlfriend at the time (now wife). On occasion filtering my conversations and conveniently avoiding talking about the weekend. And when I brought Katy up in conversation I opted for the nicely neutral ‘partner’.

I believe it’s really important that we help people to not feel like this because, personally, I find that holding back a big part of me isn’t good for my health, experience at work, or the relationships I build.

So I set up an LGBTQ+ network. The first of its kind at Camelot. And a way to celebrate diversity, ensure that the community feels able to bring their whole self to work without fear of judgement, prejudice or ridicule. It will help us to understand any barriers which exist on a personal and business wide basis, to improve the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community, and to encourage a conversation to educate other Camelot employees on LGBTQ+ matters.

And so far so good! We launched to the business this month, during LGBTQ+ History Month, we’ve had fantastic support from the exec down, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where the network takes us. So watch this space…

Hannah Shanks
Corporate Responsibility Manager