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Mayor has chosen group to run London Pride

Community-based group chosen to run festival in UK capital for the next five years. Only 115 days remain to put event together
London's pride now has new organizers to run the event for the next five years.
Photo by Scott Nunn.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today (18 January) chosen a community interest company to run the city’s pride festival for the next five years.

But the decision has come so late that organizers now only have 115 days to put together a festival which usually takes a year to organize.

It comes after the previous organization running pride collapsed following 2012’s event. London had been hosting World Pride but it had to be drastically scaled back at the last minute due to a funding crisis.

Johnson’s Greater London Authority has finally chosen London LGBT+ Community Pride to manage the event in future after a bidding process.

Event organizers say City Hall has given them £150,000 ($239,000 €179,000) for 2013 with a total of £500,000 ($797,000 €596,000) available for all five years.

If they run a successful event this year – which has to include a march through the city, a rally in Trafalgar Square and a party in Soho – they will be able to bid again for more of the funding for 2014.

The 2013 pride festival will open on 25 June with a fundraising dinner. The parade and street parties will take place on 29 June.

To mark the four decades of London Pride, the theme for 2013 will be ‘Pride: Celebrating Our Achievements Together’.

Speaking on behalf of the new pride board, Michael Salter said: ‘We’re delighted with the support we’ve already had for our bid from the community but the hard work starts now.

‘We have 115 working days to raise the funding required, finalize plans and make our vision a reality. We’ve already begun working with community groups and sponsors and now we are looking for motivated individuals to get involved and join the small army of volunteers that are essential to making Pride a roaring success.

‘We are a community interest company, which means any surplus made can only be used to support the event in future years or donated to LGBT organizations.’

The new board wants to rebuild London’s pride over the five years so it attracts visitors from around the world.

Mayor Johnson said: ‘London’s pride celebrations are one of the biggest and most high profile events in our city’s cultural calendar.

‘They are enormously popular and underpin London’s status as one of the best cities in the world for LGBT people, who make an enormous contribution to the social and economic life of the capital.

‘With a new partner, strongly rooted in the community, our ambition is to see a successful event that is sustainable in the longer term.’

Plans for the 2013 include:

  • The fundraising dinner on 25 June.
  • Holding a ‘Festival of Pride’ in the week leading up to the parade, taking in cultural, political, artistic and theatrical events, in partnership with organizations such as Channel 4, the British Film Institute and the new St James’ Theatre.
  • A sports day linked to London’s bid to host the 2018 Gay Games.
  • The traditional parade through central London; celebrating the achievements of the last four decades, with groups arranged according to the year they were set up.
  • Large screens erected throughout central London, including in Trafalgar Square, which will broadcast a mixture of recorded and live messages from community groups, charities, sponsors, celebrities, politicians and interviews from around the pride events.
  • The gay district of Soho continuing to play a major role on the parade day, being used for events including street parties and a dedicated women’s area.
  • Similar street parties and events to be developed in other areas of London. In future years they hope to expand out of Soho’s congested streets and into London’s parks.

The new pride directors have also pledged to hold regular public meetings starting in February, so the public can ask questions, make suggestions and get involved.

They have also set up a new community advisory board headed by Lisa Power, a veteran LGBT rights campaigner and policy director of HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust. She will advise on including all parts of the community and scrutinize the organizers on behalf of the gay and trans public.

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