This year’s Wendy Jones Award has been presented to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Branch Convenor Barry Snelgrove for his outstanding work making both the FDA and the civil service more LGBT+ inclusive.
Established in memory of former FDA Equality Officer Wendy Jones, the annual award recognises FDA members who have made an outstanding contribution to promoting equality in the union and in public life.
Receiving the award from Hilary Benn MP at this year’s Annual Delegate Conference, Snelgrove reflected on his own personal struggles, telling delegates that it took him “a long while to come out as a gay man”. The fact that “there are still a lot of people who struggle”, he explained, motivates him to continue his work.
As an active FDA representative and Executive Committee member, Snelgrove has a long history of promoting the civil service as an inclusive workplace and raising awareness of LGBT+ issues. In the past year, he has played a key role in reinvigorating the FDA’s LGBT+ Network, working with union colleagues to make the FDA more inclusive in its representation of LGBT+ members.
Introducing the award at conference, FDA President Fiona Eadie described Snelgrove as a “role model” who has “shown outstanding passion, drive and tenacity in making a substantial contribution to the equality and diversity agenda within the MoJ, the HMPPS probation service, the FDA and in other outside charities”.
In a passionate acceptance speech, Snelgrove celebrated the fact that “we have come an enormously long way” but stressed that there was still much work to be done.
He said: “I was at the Admiral Duncan the other day, 20 years after the bomb. I knew someone who managed to survive that bomb and then, years later, was murdered in a homophobic incident... It is great to get this in the [FDA’s] 100th year because we have come a long way, we have come an enormously long way. I am now married as a gay man. I civil partnered, which was brought in by Hilary’s government. I never dreamt that I would be able to do that.
“However, there is still a lot to do and there is still a lot to do particularly for our non-binary and trans people. That is what drives me at the moment and I want to carry on doing that. Even though I am retiring this year, that work will go on.”