A strong, open and honest first step from London LGBT+ Community Pride

Tonight we were invited along to Heaven who were hosting the first open meeting by London LGBT+ Community Pride. This was their first chance to show us that they were going to do us Proud in 2013 with our pride event, and they did not fail. The overall message was clear, concise and very honest. LCP have a huge challenge on their hands. They have 5 months to put together an event that normally takes 12. On top of that, they are starting from scratch in relation to finance, volunteers and resources. But they are positive, realistic and extremely open.

Summary of the points from the meeting:

  • 1,000 volunteers need to be signed up by the end of April to meet the requirements to obtain a letter of non-objection which is tied to the funding
  • A minimum of £150,000 is required to run the minimum Pride event (consisting of parade and ensuring Soho is safe and secure). If Pride is to be more than just the parade (i.e. Trafalgar Square plus anything else, an additional minimum £50,000 is required.
  • End of April has been set as a 'Go/No-Go' date for determining if Pride will go ahead. This date is to protect everyone from losses that would be committed after this date if the event cannot go ahead due to not reaching the minimum volunteers or money
  • The committee were very honest about the challenges they face.

About London LGBT+ Community Pride (LCP)

LCP sees Pride in London as a chance to celebrate, campaign and for LGBT businesses and groups to promote themselves

LCP uses LGBT+ in their name to represent the huge diverseness of people within the community.

LCP are keen to be transparent and as such an independent Community Advisory Board chaired by Lisa has been created. 14 LGBT businesses will sit on the group and will question and review the actions of LCP.

LCP is a Community Interest Company (CIC). They are not personally allowed to campaign, however they can provide a platform on which others can choose to campaign.

How LCP is transparent and accountable

A finance committee has been created, and includes people from both KPMG and Deloitte who are contributing considerable time to support LCP. An audit committee has also been created and will audit the event each year.

Open meetings will continue to take place, and minutes of meetings will be posted online. A visual tracker of fundraising pledged will be on the home page so that you can clearly track the progress.

Challenges LCP have to overcome

  • Raising funding in a difficult economic climate and with no financial records and a poor history associated with the event.
  • Signing up enough volunteers (the requirement is 1 volunteer to every 25 attendees and LCP are working on the assumption of 40,000 attendees as an estimate)

The Pride 2013 Theme and Content

Love (and marriage) - it was identified that not everyone in the LGBT community wants to marry, and that the love is the thing that unifies everyone. However marriage is a big deal at present, and whilst not everyone themselves may wish to marry, it is believed that everyone shares a goal that people should be able to enter into a marriage of equal standing, and that this should be supported.

Pride in London will consist of a march, where groups and individuals will be placed in chronological order based on their conception date with oldest at the front.

There will be a week of Pride events in the run up to the Pride March.

Should fundraising be successful LCP see the following plan:

  • Trafalgar Square - the wedding venue, decorated as such and with a stage that features local people recognised within the community. Large screens promoting videos produced by the community.
  • Soho - the honeymoon, with various venues decorated to reflect different honeymoon destinations. Soho is to have a dedicated family area; dedicated memorial area; dedicated women's area and 2 designated dry areas for those who wish to enjoy Pride but do not wish to drink.
  • Leicester Square - the reception, with a small stage showing entertainment (think Pink Singers, comedy; not go-go dancers or stripping).
  • Satelite events in other boroughs in locations such as Clapham, Shoreditch, etc to alleviate the pressure on Soho and Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square only has a capacity of 10,000

Responsibilities of LCP

The GLA funding came with a provision. LCP must obtain a 'Letter of No Objection' from the Licensing Operational Strategic Planning Group. To obtain such a letter LCP must show that they can provide a safe environment through a minimum number of volunteers. They also have to show that they can provide a safe area within Soho to support the increased footfall that Pride in London creates in this area. Approximately 10,000 people are expected in Soho.

LCP were extremely honest. The GLA funding will not be released until the Letter of No Objection has been obtained. This doesn't get issued until a short period before the event. This period is too short to be able to wait so the GLA money cannot be relied upon. Suppliers will expect to be paid before the money is released. This was one of the main cashflow issues that Pride London's previous committee experienced and the cause of last year's problems. LCP are very aware that this is a big challenge, and is why such an emphasis is placed on reaching fundraising.

Progress of LCP so far

  • 100 volunteers have signed up
  • £30k from TUC
  • £25k from a UK bank
  • various ongoing discussions with other organisations

Volunteers

LCP is made up entirely of volunteers. They believe that the volunteers make the event come to life and are the face of Pride in London. LCP has 'Volunteer Values': Professionalism and Diversity.

Both on the day and pre-parade volunteers are required. LCP will be running volunteer attraction events in Soho - details will follow.

All volunteers will be given full training. LCP wants volunteers to have an opportunity to gain from the volunteering. Skills will be learnt, new friends made and volunteers will also get the best view of the parade.

LCP wants to attract, and retain volunteers. The recognition scheme is being looked into and LCP hope to offer this as an additional benefit.

LCP are asking for support from TFL in relation to travelling around London and also to the Olympic Organising Committee to reach out to Games Makers and Ambassadors in relation to volunteering at Pride in London.

Partnering with Events

LCP wants to encourage groups who have in the past run solo events independently alongside Pride to come on board and run events officially under the Pride London banner working with LCP who are offering to provide support and assistance to these groups. LCP would love to be able to have events taking place in every borough with every group. LCP noted that there could not be too many events; if interest was high the Pride festival week could be extended (as long as the money was available).

Diversity

Lots of discussion was had around various groups that were in the past not involved in Prides in London. BME, disabled, ethnic groups were all specifically mentioned and discussed as were the involvement of families and increasing women. Elderly and youth were also specifically mentioned.

Questions and Answers

At the end the floor was opened up for questions and answers.

Particular questions were:

  1. What is being done to tackle or approach the businesses in Soho that make a lot of money out of being in Soho during Pride but who contribute little or nothing to the event?
    LCP are approaching various businesses in Soho. LCP needs to be able to show these businesses that they can put on a successful event. There is a history that is associated with Pride in London that trust needs to be re-built.
  2. Inclusivity, accessibility, deaf support and disabled access were raised as concerns
    LCP noted that they would work with BSL; TFL have already agreed to provide vehicles and support and LCP were open to hear from any disability groups, minority groups, youth or anyone who had constructive advice that would assist LCP in supporting all these areas
  3. A non-faith zone was requested by a non-faith group via Twitter following a Tweet highlighting LCP's aim to provide a multi-denominational faith tent in Trafalgar Square
    LCP noted that they would be happy to provide a space and tent for any group as long as the money was there to do so. Space was not a problem.
  4. Why has the Pride London weekend been moved so that it now clashes with New York Pride?Historically Pride in London has always been on a closest weekend to the Stonewall Riots anniversary. Great care has been taken not to clash with other LGBT events, such as Madrid Pride. Although clashing with New York Pride, LCP are in discussions with New York Pride to see if there would be a way to link up the two using technology. This would be dependent on funds.
  5. Whilst fundraising by approaching big businesses is important, how will LCP ensure that Pride remains for and about the community and doesn't get enveloped by the large corporate sponsors?
    LCP currently has to become self-funding in 5 years as the GLA plans to cease funding. It was noted that the GLA does not offer funding to many groups and LCP is in a minority. The GLA is under pressure to reduce spending. Funding has to come from somewhere; however if a successful event can be proven it may be possible to suggest the GLA continue to support the event as a positive event for London. If the community can fundraise enough larger companies will be required less.