PARTY spirit hit Co-operative Group staff when they made appearances at the Manchester Pride and Cardiff Mardi Gras festivals.
The Group was well represented at both festivals ? the first time the Group has worked with the gay and lesbian community.
In Manchester the society sponsored the Pride Lifestyle Expo, promoting a range of Co-op services.
Meanwhile in Cardiff it sponsored the main stage, which hosted a range of bands and cabaret acts, as well as a performance by Charlotte Church.
Elected members from the Group's Northern, South West, and Wales and Borders regions were joined by representatives from Co-operative Financial Services, Funeralcare, Travelcare, food retail, member services, the strategy unit and the diversity working group.
Between them they provided help and advice about the Co-operative Group, as well as details of available products and services.
A stand devised by Co-operative Group membership officers was designed to be fun and informative and to challenge any ideas that some may have had about the Co-op, membership and attitudes to diversity.
The stand also featured beach music and a surf simulator as part of its "co-operative summer" theme. Staff and members donned t-shirts and beach hats and there was a competition for visitors to win a holiday for two to Sydney's Mardi Gras next year.
At Manchester Pride visitors included TV celebrities, while in Cardiff Welsh Assembly Member Lorraine Barrett, chair of the Co-operative Group of Assembly Members, visited and even tried the surf simulator.
Joan Keysell, Regional Secretary for the Northern Region, said about Manchester Pride: "I have never been involved in leading an event of this kind before ? the way the different parts of the business have responded so positively and co-operatively to this opportunity was inspirational.
"By the end of the weekend colleagues from different businesses and regions who had never met before had become firm friends and could see the benefits of continuing to working together on future projects.`