Greater Anglia celebrates Black History Month

Published on: Thursday, 19 October 2023
Last updated: Thursday, 19 October 2023

Greater Anglia colleagues celebrated the launch of the livery

Greater Anglia colleagues celebrated the launch of the livery. Credit: Greater Anglia.

Greater Anglia has launched a special train livery to commemorate black history, alongside a series of events for its staff in October to mark Black History Month.

Black History Month is a time of national celebration to honour the achievements and contributions of black people across Britain.

The train operator is highlighting the importance of diversity and is encouraging Greater Anglia employees to join in with Black History Month events throughout the month.

At an event at London Liverpool Street on Wednesday (18 October), a special livery was unveiled on one of the ‘class 720’ commuter trains. The bespoke design includes the Greater Anglia ‘hare’ holding a black history flag, alongside text saying, “Celebrating Black History.”

Greater Anglia has become one of the first train companies to have a permanent livery celebrating black history on one of its trains. The operator is focused on breaking down barriers while illustrating its commitment to ethnic and cultural diversity for colleagues and passengers year-round.

During Black History Month, the operator has also started a series of events to celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture. All of its workforce were recently invited to a webinar on ‘Racism in The Workplace’. The event, led by Greater Anglia’s talent resourcing and development department, covered the topics of recognising different forms of racism, understanding the impacts of racialised microaggression, how society can get to genuine representation rather than tokenistic gestures, and the importance of speaking up if racism is seen.

A book reading of Angie Thomas’ Thug: The Hate U Give is also set to take place. The novel follows the story of 16-year-old Starr who is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend.

All of the events are designed to promote discussion around the company.

Black History Month Train

Credit: Greater Anglia.

Katy Bucknell, Greater Anglia’s HR director, said:

“We are proud to be one of the first train companies to unveil a special, permanent livery celebrating black history – it is a visible celebration of our positive approach to diversity and inclusion within Greater Anglia and across the region that we serve.

“We have staff from all over the world at Greater Anglia and it is brilliant to see such a range of events taking place across Black History Month.

“They will show how a small change and a single word can have a big impact and allow us to all work together even more effectively, within not just different departments, but the wider company too.”

Christopher Lewis, vice-chair of the Ethnicity and Culture group and a revenue protection officer at Colchester station said:

“I am proud that Greater Anglia has launched this livery celebrating black history and I hope that it helps passengers and fellow colleagues have confidence in themselves.

“The Ethnicity and Culture group offers support and encouragement to staff – we want to encourage colleagues from all cultures and backgrounds to believe in their own abilities."

Sophie Thrower, chair of the Ethnicity and Culture group and a member of station staff at Wivenhoe station said:

“We are excited to deliver such a variety of events for our colleagues across the network and see how we can all move forward and continue to educate ourselves further.

“I am proud that Greater Anglia has unveiled this special livery celebrating black history – this visual illustration reflects our diverse workforce, and it is superb that it will be seen across our region at speeds of up to 100mph!”

The Ethnicity and Culture group is one of two colleague-led networking groups within Greater Anglia, the other being Affinity, around sex, and sexuality.

Their goals are to celebrate people’s differences and bring them together in equal measure. You can read more on the company’s equality and diversity page.

The events and groups are part of Greater Anglia’s wider diversity and inclusion strategy, which sees the company working year-round to make itself a better and more inclusive place to work.

The company, which runs trains from London to Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, has stations close to where a number of the key Black History Month and related events will be held, enabling everyone to celebrate across the East of England, including:

L-R: Sophie Thrower and Christopher Lewis

L-R: Sophie Thrower and Christopher Lewis. Credit: Greater Anglia.