“We are devastated at having to make this decision”
BY DIVA STAFF
One of the UK’s biggest and most successful Pride events has been cancelled for a second year over “uncertainties” around the pandemic, say organisers.
Brighton Pride was due to take place 7-8 August, one of several larger Pride events announced for 2021, including Manchester, London and World Pride in Copenhagen.
But organisers say despite the success of the vaccine rollout in the UK, uncertainties remain, and have made the “heartbreaking” decision to cancel this year’s event.
Paul Kemp, director of Brighton Pride, said: “We are devastated at having to make this decision for a second year and recognise the huge impact on local businesses, charities and community groups who rely on the fundraising potential of the Pride weekend.
“Pride attracts tens of thousands of people to our city for the LGBTQ+ community parade which is the heart of the Pride celebrations, where any social distancing guidance clearly can’t be facilitated safely. Our planning has also identified significant supply chain challenges including infrastructure, security and staffing making it impossible to deliver a safe event with any certainty.
“Community fundraising has always been our main objective for Pride, but without the safety net of viable Covid cancellation insurance, we cannot jeopardise our ability to deliver a sustainable fundraising Pride in future years.”
Kemp added: “I’d like to thank all of our contractors, suppliers and partner agencies who have tried their upmost to help us move forward with planning, and to everyone who has purchased a ticket for their understanding and support, we can’t wait to bring Pride back in 2022 better than ever.”
“A sensible and responsible decision”
While disappointing, community organisations say they understand and support the decision made by Brighton Pride. Chris Gull, Chair of The Brighton Rainbow Fund, said: “We were sorry to hear that Brighton Pride have had to make the difficult decision to cancel plans to deliver a full-on physical event again this year. We totally understand and support that decision.
“For several years before the current organisers took over, Brighton Pride had failed to raise any funds for our local LGBTQ+ projects. Under the current organisers’ tenure almost £1 million has been raised for local good causes, the vast majority of which The Brighton Rainbow Fund has distributed as grants to those projects.
“Without the security of a government backed Covid insurance scheme (as offered in other countries), many festivals across the UK are reaching the same conclusions that Brighton Pride have, in short that there are still too many unknowns to be able to predict the situation in late Summer. Decisions and spending commitments have to be made now. Nobody can be certain, for instance, that a variant that is resistant to the current vaccines won’t emerge and that a further lockdown won’t result.
“The sensible and responsible decision has been made. The long term fundraising for our local LGBTQ+ projects is best served by ensuring that the successful fundraising model that has been created is sustainable over many years to come. The risk of, to be blunt, the organisation collapsing due to COVID delivering another twist is not worth taking.
“We look forward to hearing about what events Brighton Pride will be organising, and know that fundraising for our local LGBTQ+ communities, along with the safety of attendees remains the core aim.”
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