A BESPOKE drain cover celebrating Swindon's diverse community has been unveiled.

The cover in Wood Street, has been painted with rainbow colours as well as black and brown to represent people of black and Asian ethnic minority groups and is thought to be only the second of its kind in the UK.

The design also includes LGBTQ+ symbols along with those of Thames Water and the cover manufacturers, Wrekin Products, and the slogan 'Every rainbow needs a little water to shine'.

The words were chosen by Thames Water employees and refer to the company’s core purpose of water management.

The cover is an exact copy of one installed by Thames Water in Reading last month.

There have been similar covers photographed in Japan and the United States.

Matt Rimmer, Thames Water’s director of wastewater networks and an ally of the company’s LGBTQ+ network, said: “We’re proud to be an inclusive employer and want our workforce to represent the diverse communities we serve.

“While we continue to support Pride events, including in Swindon, we also want to have some permanent and highly visible statement pieces that reflect our commitment to our LGBTQ+ employees and customers. 

“The covers will not only be functional but also works of art that we hope people will enjoy.”

Thames Water has been sponsoring Swindon and Wiltshire Pride since 2016 and the new drain cover is deliberately positioned on the Pride parade route. 

Swindon Pride chair Jo Sharpe said: “It’s fantastic to see Thames Water providing a visual representation and acknowledgement for the LGBTQ+ community and their own employees.

“This may seem like a small gesture but it’s a commitment to equality and diversity.  

“The rainbow drain cover joins The Rainbow Walk and the Rainbow Bench in Swindon.” 
Associate director of workplace client relationships at Stonewall Emma Kosmin said:

“We’re delighted that Thames Water is installing drain covers that visibly celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

“Initiatives like this, which openly show appreciation for our communities, help LGBTQ+ staff and members of the public feel seen and valued.”

Two copies of the cover will be installed in London over the next coming week.

They will join two existing commemorative drain covers – one marking the clearing of the infamous 2017 Whitechapel Fatberg and one on Abbey Road to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles album.