DRAG queens were welcomed to a Poole care home with open arms as staff attempt to promote inclusivity and individuality.

Residents at Aranlaw House Care Home in Tower Road were visited by the group of four from Bournemouth's DYMK Bar.

The event coincided with the home's open day and came together after staff completed LGBT+ awareness training.

They said they were "horrified at the discrimination that many people have faced" and they work hard to create an open and welcome environment.

Niamh Coffey, activity lead at Aranlaw House, said: "The big thing for us at Aranlaw is we embrace individuality.

"The problem with so many care homes is they are very homogenous and the minute you do something different you stand out for all the wrong reasons.

"Where as here we embrace it and we love people expressing themselves.

"Our training highlighted to us that the LGBT+ community have been very stigmatised.

"Over the years, there has been research to show people with dementia can feel the same and there are similar fears, such as isolation.

"We do not like that here and we want everyone to feel they can come in and be themselves. We do not want anyone to feel like they have to hide who they are."

During their training, one staff member discussed how they lost their job because of their sexuality, whole another was assaulted walking home through Bournemouth.

"The bigger message we are trying to send out is anyone can come to this care home," said Ms Coffey.

"If people hide who they are it affects their mental health and that is at the heart of what we do here."

Mevin Sohorye, care home manager at Aranlaw House, added: "We try to embrace everyone in exactly the same way – there is no difference.

"When people come in they should feel the warmth straightaway."

Alan Mercel-Sanca from the LGB&T Dorset Equality & Diversity Network also spoke to residents at Aranlaw House.

He discussed the bad experiences of sexual and gender minorities and gave an update on the progress of inclusion both locally and nationally.

Mr Mercel-Sanca said: "The point about the talk was to give everyone the opportunity to be an LGB&T ally, which means you do not have to be a sexually and gender minority community member, but part of the LGB&T community's fight for acceptance as individuals, as human beings who contribute so much to our world.

"We feel this of interest to every member of society."