Wagamama celebrates Pride with rainbow benches to raise money for LGBT charities

Wagamama is celebrating Pride by installing rainbow benches to raise money for LGBT charities, as part of its #MakeItRainbow campaign.

Every time a customer sits on one of the benches, the profits from any Japanese steamed buns bought will be donated to the cause.

The chain is hoping to raise £12,500 for charitable organisations including Birmingham’s SIFA Fireside, which supports homeless and vulnerable people, Brighton’s Rainbow Fund, Edinburgh’s LGBT Youth, George’s House in Manchester and London Friend, the UK’s oldest LGBT charity.

The rainbow benches will be set up across the UK, in London, Brighton, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Last year, Wagamama raised more than £7,500 across three cities.

Andre Johnstone, the UK marketing director for Wagamama, said: “After the success of last year’s #makeitrainbow campaign, we wanted to reach further and wider.


“Including an additional three cities as part of our campaign is the best way to shout louder about our support for the LGBT+ community.

“We’ve always supported our staff when it comes to Pride and this year is no different.”

A statement on the Wagamama website explains more about the restaurant chain’s support for Pride: “Since opening our doors in London 25 years ago, we have championed inclusiveness, acceptance and difference.

“We are proud of our ‘no clone’ hiring policy, which has always encouraged our Wagamama family to embrace who they are and not hide or conform to a stereotype of a cookie-cutter employee.

Members of the LGBT community take part in the annual Pride Parade in London in 2017 (Getty Images)

“We are who we are and we want you to just be you. After 25 years, it felt like this was the right time for us to take pride in our position and come out and do it in public. And why not start where it all began?”

More than a million people are set to march through the capital for the Pride in London Parade this year, which will take place on 7 July.

Speaking at the 2017 Pink News awards, London mayor Sadiq Khan announced a five-year commitment to funding Pride in London.

“I am proud to be the first mayor ever to lead the first annual pride parade,” he said.

“I’m proud to have reinstated the pride reception at City hall, and proud to have published the first ever LGBT venue charter to protect and open LGBT venues in our city.

“Our aim is to safeguard its long term presence in the great city of the world.”