LETTER TO EDITOR: Without Brighton Pride we could not provide our services

Lunch Positive is a local charity, providing a community lunch club to people with HIV, with a wide range of support activities.

Gary Pargeter, Service Manager at Lunch Positive

Gary Pargeter, Service Manager at Lunch Positive

Like most charities, funding to provide and develop services is increasingly stretched, with fewer funding sources and those that are available having greater overall pressure on their funds.

It seems year-on-year there is often some criticism of Brighton & Hove Pride, but this year social media has produced what feels like some particularly vitriolic and personal comment, the purpose of much which seems intentionally damaging rather than constructively discursive.

Pride, as an established and mature organisation can answer for itself on issues of choice of headline acts and ticketing etc. but I feel compelled to share with any detractors of Pride that their organisation is a unique, successful, highly reliable and essential source of fundraising for local LGBT & HIV charities and community groups.

It has consistently raised more funds for our local LGBT & HIV organisations than any Brighton Pride organisation before, and it is our experience when meeting Pride organisers every year that they care sincerely and passionately about raising yet more.

The funds raised through Pride are distributed through the Rainbow Fund to our local LGBT & HIV groups through a structured grants application process. As an applicant organisation we are required to provide evidence of need, supporting diligence, and attend an interview with a grants panel which is highly interrogative.

Only once this has happened and any grant application has been scrutinised is there the possibility of receiving any funding. We are grateful of such a stringent process.

Lunch Positive is an organisation that supports and empowers, and as such it sometimes feels awkward to talk widely about the issues and disadvantages still faced by many people with HIV.

However, for those that would question the impact of Brighton Pride on our community I can tell you that funds that Pride has raised have ensured that our organisation is able to exist and has the prospect of continuing to provide support for the future.

Brighton Pride fundraising and Rainbow Fund grants have helped us feed people who would otherwise go hungry, help people move on from street-sleeping to accommodation, support people with suicidal thoughts to get help, helped people recover from substance misuse, supported people to find employment, and has provided a unique peer-led space for hundreds of people to overcome barriers of HIV stigma to socialise and get peer support that they do not find elsewhere.

These impacts are not exhaustive, but hopefully demonstrate how crucial and effective Brighton Pride fundraising is, and how important Rainbow Fund grants are.

Cities bring with them added social and economic disadvantages and inequalities. Brighton & Hove Pride, Rainbow Fund, and our local LGBT & HIV organisations strive passionately to overcome these for our many varied communities.

Stand with Pride,

Gary Pargeter, Service Manager at Lunch Positive

 

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