Over the last few weeks there has been much to celebrate and remember within the LGBTQ community, which is really important to make note of.
This year while waiting (and waiting) to get into this years Brighton Pride, I heard a lot of people complaining about how long it took to get into the event and the price of tickets.
To be fair, those organising the event had to ensure security me suers were in place, so long queues were inevitable. On the plus side of things, the sun was shining and once inside the park there were just about every kind of visual entreatment you could possible wish for. Personally, I thought the early bird ticket price of £9.00 was a bargain
More importantly and something that many people perhaps are unaware of is £1.00 from each ticket was ring-fenced for the Rainbow Fund which, along with a host of other individuals and groups including: Bear-Patrol’s, ‘Bear Weekender’, Legends, Tony Chapman, Queens Arms, A-Bar, Charle’s Street, David Raven, James Ledward, The Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus and Many more helped raise over £41,000 for local HIV/LGBTQ charities.
For the uninitiated, The Rainbow Fund was initially set up by Gscene’s James Ledward and Paul Elgood to help fund the development and construction Brighton’s AIDS Memorial, with local artist Romany Mark Bruce giving all his time for free in creating the finished piece.
Since then, The Rainbow Fund has been the hub for excepting donations which in turn are given out as grants to local LGBTQ/HIV charity organisations, who each apply via a vigorous process ensuring the funds are used to help benefit the individual groups maxim potential in all areas.
This year The Brighton Writer attended The Rainbow Fund annual awards ceremony, hosted by the irrepressible Lola Lasagne aka Stephen Richards, along with many familiar faces from Brighton, including, Gary Pargeter (Lunch Positive) James Ledward (Gscene) Cllr Bill Randall, Deputy Mayor of Brighton & Hove, David Raven and Romany Mark Bruce, Jennie Castell, Davian Sparkle, David Harvie (Brighton Bear Weekend) and Philip Marini (Rainbow Fund) who were all on hand to present the grants to the following organisations.
Allsorts – £5.000 For a youth engagement worker to support the Transformer Group for young Trans* people.
Clare Project – £4,640 to extend their psychotherapy and speech therapy sessions Trans* people.
Brighton Gems – £4.000 towards support cost for befriending & support work for older gay men.
LGBT community Safety Forum – £7.000 towards hate crime advocacy.
LGBT Switchboard – £2.500 towards clinical supervision for counsellors.
Lunch Positive – £7,000 towards food, venue hire and lunch club running cost for people with HIV.
MindOut – £7.000 towards peer support groups and housing advice for people with mental health issues.
Sussex Beacon – £4.000 towards a new occupational therapy project.The remaining funds were earmarked for a feasibility study to develop a funding needs assessment of all LGBT organisations, the service they provide and their future grant needs.
Individuals from each of the groups took to the stage to talk a little about how the grants awarded their group is so important and what a difference it will make in the coming year.
The evening was a great success and an important event to remind us all that although the queue at Pride was a little tedious, by buying our ticket we each contributed in helping some amazing LGBTQ/HIV groups continue in making a huge difference to many people all year round.