LANDMARK plans to provide a support network for Redditch’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have been unanimously backed by the borough council’s executive committee.

Councillors agreed to support several recommendations including the introduction of leaflets advertising available support networks, training for council staff in specific mental health needs of the LGBT community and introducing a budget to support LGBT History Month.

The council has also pledged to take part in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, an annual benchmarking exercise carried out charity Stonewall to establish the best LGBT equality supporter employers.

One of the proposals, aimed at Worcestershire County Council, to take part in the Stonewall Education Equality Index and encourage schools to take part in the Stonewall School Champions Programme and use Birmingham LGBT School Toolkit as a resource will be championed by Councillor Joseph Baker in his role as county councillor.

Cllr Baker said it was a “great opportunity” for the council.

“This is a really huge landmark event for the council. We are the only council in the county that are doing this,” he added.

He gave an emotional speech about the experiences of Redditch’s LGBT community and estimated there were more than 5,000 LGBT people living in the town with more than half of them suffering homophobic bullying.

He spoke about a mother of a bullied 15-year-old boy, who committed suicide, an elderly gay man living life in isolation because of his sexuality and a 17-year-old who turned to prostitution after his parents disowned him.

Councillor members agreed to provide £200 to hire the Room Upstairs at the Palace Theatre for LGBT History Month and arranged to have a stand at the Morton Stanley Festival.

Cllr Baker added that he wanted to raise awareness of the free hepatitis B vaccinations and that lesbian and bisexual women should be encouraged to attend cervical screening tests.

Council leader Bill Hartnett praised the report, he said: “It is a very valuable piece of work.

“Congratulations to everybody who contributed to this you should be really proud of it.”