Site manager celebrates Vistry’s support for Pride Month highlighting his own experiences at work

Site manager Patrick Sloane is celebrating Vistry Group leading the housebuilding industry’s support of Pride Month saying it has been difficult to reveal his sexuality on every new site he works on.

Patrick, who manages Vistry Partnership’s new Plaistow Hub, near Stratford in London, said Vistry’s backing made a big difference and would help open people’s eyes.

The former hurler, who played competitively as wing forward in Ireland before joining London side St Gabriel’s GAA, highlighted the emotional turmoil of telling new colleagues he is gay.

Patrick, from Cork who now lives in Borough, has been to Pride most years, including London, Manchester and Brighton. He said: “It’s great that Vistry is leading the way and being so inclusive. We’re giving colleagues information and even letting people know it’s Pride Month can help open their eyes. It’s people’s choice if they want to find out more or get involved and it can make them feel more included too.

“When I came out, my friends, particularly in hurling, were very supportive and it opened the way for other people in the team to come out. Some of them thanked me after I did and said it had eased the way for them to do the same. I didn’t believe them to start off with, but they said it had opened other people’s minds and I noticed that.

“In the construction industry, in a role like mine, where you can go from site to site, it can be very difficult as, even though you shouldn’t have to, you always feel like you have to come out again at every new site, because you’re meeting new people. It’s a horrible thing to have to do, as coming out the first time is an emotional thing for anyone, but having to do it again and again – you get tired of it and you start to wonder why you have to.

“I’m outgoing and don’t mind people asking questions, but for those who are a bit more introvert, I think they would find it very hard. If Vistry continues to lead the way, then people across the industry can see that it is ok and there is a future for everyone, and no one will be excluded.”

Patrick, who met his partner, Desmond – who also works as a project manager, for a new construction company – four years ago, added all types of people work in every industry and it shouldn’t be a surprise many in the LGBTQ+ community work in construction.

“There are people who never come out and never be themselves, and they live their life like they think they have to, and it’s a hard way to be,” Patrick said. “I used to be a very angry person all the time. When I came out, it was like a weight lifted, I questioned why I was behaving like I had been, I realised I could be myself out and didn’t have to hide anything. Now I’m the happiest person you could meet. It’s not about throwing it in people’s faces, it’s about being yourself – being comfortable and being happy. At Pride events, there’s nothing but love and happiness. It’s a wonderful vibe and I agree with the sentiment completely. People take their families and they just have the best time of their lives.

“It’s important to remember there are different types of people in all walks of life and lines of work, and it shouldn’t be a surprise there are gay people in the construction industry, in all types of roles. Vistry is exploring training and education, it’s just about a balance – how much is right and having it there for people to access if and when they want to.”

Building work has started on both a 23-storey and a 15-storey block at Plaistow Hub, and the development will link to Plaistow Underground Station. Facilities will include a neighbourhood centre, library, café, supermarket and gym. Completion is set for towards the end of 2023.