AN LGBT organisation is launching a scheme to fight inequality in the community.

Darlington ARQ is developing the Championship Scheme to educate companies on LGBT culture.

The newly established community organisation was set up to fill a gap in the market following the closure of Gay Advice Darlington and Durham, which shut due to funding cuts.

The first Darlington businesses to take part in the scheme are Mangobean Coffee and Primary Healthcare Darlington.

Darlington ARQ will look at the organisation’s equality and diversity policies to train members of staff in LGBT awareness.

CEO of Darlington ARQ, Andi Cull said: "Mangobean Coffee shop and Primary Healthcare Darlington are going to be the first organisations in the town to go through this, both of the organisations are brilliant and have supported us since our reception.

"The whole point of the scheme is to reduce the statistic that 70% of LGBT youths are discriminated against, that statistic should be zero, we know it probably won’t be in our lifetime but that's one of our ultimate goals.

"We train every single member of staff and then give the company an award in recognition of what they've achieved, it's evidence based so they can say this is our award and this is what we have done to get it.”

The organisation also offers counselling and mentoring to anyone who needs their services, it's a safe space that has a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and hatred.

For more information email or call 01388 229516.