A rainbow flag will be flown for the first time over the civic offices in Epping Forest.

The event has been scheduled to coincide with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender history month.

The multicoloured pride flag will be flown on February 17 to show support for the LGBT community.

The council has also commissioned a Hidden History display compiled by Epping Forest District Museum in their civic offices showing the change in attitudes to single-sex relationships since the 17th Century.

A drop-in meeting place for LGBT individuals will be established by the authority, which is currently appealing for a volunteer to run it in one of the council-owned buildings in the district.

Equality Officer Barbara Copson said: “We want to raise awareness of the LGBT community in the district and give them a voice.

“We are responding to suggestions from the LGBT community and want to make more contacts so we can find the best way to deliver improvements in the district.”

The work comes in light of findings by website essexgaymen.org.uk, which was commissioned to carry out a year-long survey.

Mrs Copson added: “It was drawn to our attention that flying the flag would be a good way to support the LGBT community by attending Chelmsford Pride over the last three years and from the research we comisisoned.”

“We wanted to time the event to tie in with LGBT history month and this is the first opportunity we have had to do it.”