Pride in London directors answered questions concerning their relationship with UK Black Pride, Stonewall, finances, governance and parade day operations during an hour long Q&A this week. The community open meeting, which offers a level of scrutiny unlike any other Pride, takes place three times a year and was moderated by newly appointed chair and BAME rep of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) Ozzy Amir.
Key points and updates from the recently restructured and expanded Pride in London board of volunteers included:
- Co-chairs: Responding to the CAB report from August 2017, the co-chairs Michael Salter-Church and Alison Camps gave an update on actions taken against each CAB recommendation. The key message was that diversity and inclusion has been and is an ongoing focus for the organisation.
- Marketing and Communications: Director of Marketing Iain Walters ran through lessons learned from last year’s campaign including a decision to not use illustration in 2018. Asad Dhunna, Director of Communications ran through the Matter of Pride survey approach and how it is driving and informing Pride’s communications strategy and campaign this year.
- Community Engagement: Christopher Joell-Deshields, Director of Community Engagement revealed a back to basics grass roots approach to outreach in to many intersections of the LGBT+ community. He outlined the work the team has been doing behind-the-scenes, meeting with individuals and community groups to learn about how Pride in London provide the best platform possible for the people it serves.
- Finance: David Bloomfield, Director of Finance revealed the event now costs nearly one million pounds to put on and that whilst cash flow can be a challenge, Pride is in a financially stable position. As a community interest company any surplus each year is re invested in to the community through ongoing expansion of the event.
- Operations: Siobhan Linard, Director of Operations talked about the priority focus on Accessibility and that having being awarded Silver Accreditation from Attitude is Everything, Pride in London will be the first UK pride event to "go for gold", something which usually takes 5-10 years to achieve. Access for all also extends to the fact that all groups that applied to Parade this year got a place with a 10% expansion of Parade capacity achieved through working with the Greater London Authority and partners. To ensure the Parade can run to time and continue to accommodate all groups, it’s important for Parade groups to "close the gap" and keep the Parade moving. Finally, early plans are in place to live broadcast the Parade building on last year’s trial.
- Fundraising and Partnerships: Alex Talcer, Director of Fundraising who was also standing in for Polly Shute, Director of Strategic Partnerships, spoke about diversifying Pride in London’s revenue streams with a focus on individual giving, digital fundraising campaigns and special events including the return of Pride Boxing. A new design for merchandise has been created from community input and will be available online as well as at the Pride in London pop up shop pending confirmation from Shaftesbury Estates. Plans are also in place to bring more of the community in to the Gala Dinner. During the course of the meeting donations came in from Sarah, Olivia, Kathleen and Hannah. On partnerships, it was pointed out that sponsorship only comes from organisations who meet Pride in London’s strong code of ethics and include having an LGBT+ commitment, and exclude gambling and cigarette brands. As well as financial support, which makes up two thirds of Pride’s income, Pride Partners provide pro-bono support in terms of office and meeting space, advice, consultancy support and free lunches are provided by Tesco for all volunteers on Pride day.
- Events: Simon Jones, Events Director spoke about how 95% of the festival which will run from 9 June to 7 July and which is now set to be twice the size, comes from the community. The festival is now the largest Pride Festival in the world. Applications opened a month ago and close 30 April. The hugely successful Pride’s Got Talent which sources 50% of stage talent for Pride day from the community is concluding over the next two Sundays with Pride's Got Talent final tickets still available for the Cabaret final and Singing final at Charing Cross Theatre.
On the relationship with Stonewall co chair Michael Slater-Church expressed his personal disappointment at Stonewall’s decision to pull out of participating in the Pride in London parade. Stonewall and Pride in London are in dialogue at multiple levels of each organisation and as a crucial member of the LGBT+ community a place on the Parade has been reserved for Stonewall who would be welcome back with open arms.
Dialogue with UK Black Pride is ongoing and directors confirmed the Sunday event will be dedicated to UK Black Pride to ensure it has the prominence it deserves and that an offer of financial, operational and marketing support remains. The two organisations are working as siblings and continue to support each other to best serve the community.
The meeting was broadcast live to over 1,000 people and can be watched back. Around 150 people attended in the room with questions coming from the floor as well as online via #PrideOM on Twitter.
Thanks go to the kind support of Southbank University for hosting the event and to Martin for providing BSL interpretation.
The next community open meeting will take place in June for an update on Pride day plans.