The Chief Constable of Sussex, Giles York, the Commander for Brighton and Hove, Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex Police, Katy Bourne, attended an Open Evening for the Brighton and Hove LGBT Community Groups Network at Prestomex House on Wednesday, February 25.
THE purpose of the evening was to give decision-makers in the city the opportunity to see the new Shared Space that has been created by the Network for groups to share.
Gary Pargeter, facilitator for the network, welcomed everyone and explained that the space has been provided rent-free to the groups by a charity accommodation initiative, with all overhead costs including heating and lighting being provided free of charge except for telephone and internet.
The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Cllr Brian Fitch, and his wife Nora, the Mayoress, congratulated the groups on successfully developing the space without any financial help from the City Council and encouraged all the groups present to concentrate their future efforts on finding business partners to work with to help support them and their work. There was no senior council officer present to hear his encouraging words.
Politicians present included Peter Kyle, the parliamentary Labour candidate for Hove and Portslade, Nancy Platts, the parliamentary Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, and Clarence Mitchell the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion.
Simon Kirby had Parliamentary duties but sent along a message of support to be read out. He said: “I am sorry not to be able to join you at your meeting, but my Parliamentary duties mean I have to be at Westminster today.
“I am very proud to represent such a diverse constituency as Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven and I stand four-square with my LGBT constituents. Amongst many issues, I worked hard on the recent same-sex marriage legislation to help steer it to the statute book, I have been pleased to campaign against the deportation of LGBT people who might face imprisonment or even death if their sexual orientation is discovered by the authorities in their countries of birth, and I have worked hard to ensure that HIV funding and prevention have been high on the Department of Health’s agenda.”
“The work your organisations do on a range of LGBT issues such as equalities, community safety, health and well-being, HIV, older people, social networking, sports and recreation, and arts and culture are vital to ensuring fairness and equal opportunity for all.
“I hope your meeting goes well. I look forward to keeping in touch and I am sorry again that I can’t be with you in person tonight. If I can be of any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
Local councillors present included Green councillors Cllr Phelim MacCafferty and Cllr Stephanie Powell.
Groups taking part in the evening were introduced by Viv Woodcock from BLAGSS and included: BLAGSS (Brighton Lesbian and Gay Sports Society), Clare Project, FTMB, LGBT Community Safety Forum, LGBT Network, Lunch Positive, Older and Out, Peer Action, Rainbow Chorus, Rainbow Families, Trans Alliance, and Village Church, who all had information stalls highlighting their work and demonstrating the nature of the front-line services they provide to the wider LGBT and HIV community in Brighton and Hove.
The Rainbow Chorus provided the musical entertainment and Lunch Positive provided the excellent buffet.
Gary Pargeter, Community Works LGBT Rep and facilitator for the network, said: “Thank you to everyone who came along to support the work of our community groups and the network. Smaller groups are often overlooked when thinking about the support provided in our community. The work they do is much needed and has true impact, especially as it is provided by members of our community, for our community. The value of this peer-led activity is immense. This should be celebrated and supported as widely as possible. We all had a fantastic evening meeting and talking to our guests, and heard some inspiring feedback. We’re looking forward to a productive year ahead, running our groups, developing the network and asking people to support our call to action – a working space that will provide a home of our own to work, collaborate and share resources.”
The Brighton and Hove LGBT Community Groups Network is an independent network of sixteen smaller LGBT groups and organisations with an annual income of £35,000 or less who meet to develop their capacities to reach, involve and support the LGBT and HIV communities in Brighton and Hove.
The work the groups deliver includes: LGBT equalities, community safety, health and well-being, HIV, older people, social networking, sports, recreation, arts and culture.
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