Stonewall strikes Barclays deal

Tania Mason

Stonewall has secured a five-figure sponsorship deal with Barclays to produce and distribute 300,000 copies of its new pocket-sized guide to civil partnership.

Gay people will be able to register their intent to form a civil partnership, which offers the same range of benefits as marriage for straight people, from 5 December. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, described it as "one of the biggest steps forward for gay people in a generation".

The 300,000 copies of the Get Hitched! guide can be distributed through Barclays 2,050 UK branches. Without the bank's support, Stonewall would have been limited to producing only about 20,000.

The "generous five-figure sum" provided by Barclays takes Stonewall's total corporate sponsorship income this financial year to £200,000, up from £33,000 two years ago.

Summerskill said he approached Jim Hytner, UK marketing director at Barclays, after hearing that he was examining the effectiveness of the banking giant's sponsorship strategy.

Barclays was already a member of Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme, which aims to create positive workplace environments for gay people.

Summerskill convinced Hytner that directly targeting gay people by sponsoring the guide made sound commercial sense because there were about 2.5 million gay people in the UK - an audience generally missed by Barclays' sponsorship of Premiership football.

"Gay people are very aware of gay-friendly brands," said Summerskill. "Research shows that you are more likely to go to prison than change your bank, so if you can present banks with a way in which they can attract new customers, they'll look at it."

Hytner said: "We want gay people to know they can be comfortable banking with Barclays. If any gay couples want to open joint accounts, we're delighted to do that for them too."

The 12-page guide has been published in both English and Welsh, and is available online in ten more languages.

KEY POINTS

- Stonewall has secured a five-figure sponsorship deal with Barclays

- This will enable the charity to print 300,000 copies of its pocket-sized guide to civil partnership

- Without the support, production would have been limited to 20,000

- Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill secured the sponsorship by convincing the bank of its sound commercial sense.

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