Tories fight on to reinstate Pride grant!
Pride 2014 will be on Saturday, August 2. Brighton & Hove Council granted Landlord’s Consent last week to Brighton Pride Community Interest Company (BPCIC) to use Preston Park for the weekend starting Friday, August 1 to Sunday, August 3, 2014. The council have suggested to Pride organisers they make use of the infrastructure on the park all weekend to make the event more sustainable and help control overhead costs.
Paul Kemp of Brighton Pride Community Interest Company said: “We hope to expand the programme of LGBT cultural events and explore new elements to maximise the use of the park event infrastructure by creating a weekend of fundraising activities. These may include a comedy performance on the Friday and the possibility of a Sunday afternoon ‘Proms on the Park’ style event. Plans are very much in the exploratory stage but it is our intention that any future developments would broaden the entertainment offering of Pride weekend to appeal to a greater cross-section of Brighton’s diverse communities.”
Withdrawal of annual grant puts parade in jeopardy
Concerns remain about the withdrawal of the council’s annual grant of £25,000 from the council’s main budget. Pride organisers have told the council the withdrawal of the grant could put the parade in jeopardy. The Conservative Group supported by Labour attempted to table a motion to have the Pride grant reinstated but Cllr Geoffrey Bowden, the committee Chair, ruled that the grant in 2013 was not a grant it was a transitional contigency fund and ruled the ammendment out. The Conservative Group will take the ammendment to the next Policy and Resources Committee for consideration. Cllr Theobald said to a meeting of Gay Businesses last week that if Labour support the ammendment the grant will be reinstated.
Here is what the politicians have to say:
Geoffrey Bowden, Green councillor, and former Pride South East trustee, said: “We are massive supporters of Pride and are particularly pleased that the ticketed format for the event is delivering a healthy surplus and allowing LGBT charities to benefit from grants administered by the Rainbow Fund.
“This year’s Pride’s fundraising initiatives broke all previous records, so far generating £43,103 for donation to local LGBT and HIV causes. Indeed, in the face of the continuing squeeze on funds from central government to local authorities such as Brighton & Hove, it is essential that major events such as Pride become sustainable.
“Pride CIC has demonstrated that it has a financially sustainable model, which we applaud. We continue to work closely with Pride organisers to ensure the longer term future of the event and are currently looking at proposals for 2014. We are also proposing to grant landlord’s consent for the organisers to stage the parade and event in the park for three years. The impact of such a move will be to provide the organisers with greater stability and strengthen their position to bring on board long term sponsor support.
“The £25,000 we set aside this year was a ring-fenced contingency fund in case it was needed to ensure the viability of the event. Some of this was used to ensure the safety of the Gay Village Party. The Pride event itself did not require any support from the contingency fund beyond some assistance around managing cash-flow.
“While Pride is self financing, the authority continues to make very significant contributions of support, this year worth nearly £64,000. We also still provide grants to small scale LGBT organisations wishing to take part in the Parade as we have done for many years.”
Geoffrey Theobald, Conservative councillor, said:
“I am a great supporter of the Pride festival and have always tried to do what I can to help if difficulties arise. I recently met with the organisers and I am pleased to say that the Conservative Group supports their call to reinstate the grant which enables the annual parade through the city to take place.
“Brighton & Hove’s Pride is an internationally renowned event which, last year, was attended by 160,000 people and contributes an estimated £13.5 million to the local economy, in other words, money in the pocket for our local businesses and traders. It also generates significant sums of money for local LGBT and HIV good causes – over £43,000 last year. In an ideal world the whole of Pride would be self-financing but this is such an important event for the city that this grant is a relatively small price to pay for its continued success.”
Warren Morgan, Labour councillor, added: “Pride is an essential event in the city’s calendar bringing millions to the local economy, and we are totally committed to do all we can to ensure its long-term future. The council currently provides support through fees it waives and helping to meet other costs. I’ve met with Pride leaders to look at ways of ensuring Pride can get through the next three years and become a sustainable, self-funding event.
“I’d like the city council to be able to help Pride and events like it, but over £100 million in government cuts to our funding in the next four years makes that very difficult.”
James Ledward, editor of Gscene Magazine, concluded saying: “After years of losing money Pride has been run for the last two years by people who have financial acumen and are keen to produce an event for the city which benefits LGBT organisations that can demonstrate they are providing effective front-line services to the LGBT community.
“The model needs to be given the chance to prove it is sustainable and this won’t happen by removing a grant that is essential to its cash flow. All that will do is put the Pride parade at risk in 2014.”
Brighton & Hove City Council have still not provided to Gscene evidence of where the annual grant to the organisers of Pride was allocated in 2012 and is the subject of a Freedom of Information Request. The council have also not seen the accounts of Pride for the last two years to enable them to say the organisation is now sustainable. The Council budget is set in February 2014.