About

Mission


Warwickshire Pride is the primary LGBT+ organisation in Warwickshire. We run a number of services and social events for LGBT+ people across the county. Our mission is:


"to ensure that all people feel valued and included in society, regardless of sexuality or gender identity"


We also have the following objectives, that are for the benefit of LGBT+ people:


1.To preserve and protect the physical and mental health of such people, in particular, but not exclusively through:

a. The provision of information, guidance and emotional support;

b. Safe, social meeting spaces where people can explore verbally and express their sexual orientation or gender identity.


2.The promotion of equality and diversity in the Warwickshire area for the public benefit by:

a. The elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity;

b. Working in partnership with other providers and community groups to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues, and the needs of LGBT+ young people and adults;

c. Advancing education and raising awareness in equality and diversity, with a focus on sexual orientation and gender identity.



History


The first Warwickshire Pride took place on Saturday 31st August 2013 and was the first event of its kind in Warwickshire. It was organised by local LGBT+ activist and businessman Daniel Browne, who felt that Warwickshire was lagging behind the rest of the country when it came to LGBT+ representation. Daniel had the vision for Warwickshire Pride upon waking up one morning and told himself that he was going to put on a Pride festival in exactly three month's time and that it would be fabulous. People thought Daniel was crazy and that it would never happen. It did happen, and around 2,000 people came out to support the first Warwickshire Pride.


Since then, Warwickshire Pride has continued to go from strength to strength; getting bigger and better each year, while retaining its identity as a grassroots, community Pride event. Warwickshire Pride is now an established festival in Warwickshire's event calendar, welcoming thousands of people each year for a celebration of LGBT+ culture.


Warwickshire Pride was part of the offering from Push Projects LGBTQ Youth Support charity. However, as Push Projects developed and started to support adults as well as young people, the board of trustees decided to change the charity name to Warwickshire Pride. The new name fully represents what the charity is about.


Warwickshire Pride is managed by a board of trustees and has a team of fantastic volunteers who help to run the services and activities. Further information can be found on the Charity Commission website.



Frequently Asked Questions About the Warwickshire Pride Festival


What time is Warwickshire Pride on? The festival will run on Saturday 22nd August 2020 between 11:00am - 6:00pm.

How much does it cost? Warwickshire Pride is completely FREE to attend. We believe in Pride celebrations being free for all people to enjoy.

Will it be safe for children to take children? Of course. Warwickshire Pride is something that people of all ages can celebrate. We are a completely family friendly festival and have a dedicated family area.

Can I bring my dog? Well behaved dogs are welcome, as long as they are kept on a lead and all mess is cleaned up.

Will there be alcohol? There will be a licensed bars selling a variety of alcoholic drinks. The bar will have a Challenge 25 policy in action on the day, so bring ID with you if you're lucky enough to look under 25. We discourage people from bringing their own alcohol due to the Pump Room Gardens being an alcohol free zone (apart from our licensed bar, of course). Anyone who is heavily under the influence of alcohol will be asked to leave the Warwickshire Pride site in order to maintain the family friendly atmosphere.

I'm not LGBT+... Can I still come? Absolutely. It may be an LGBT+ festival, but we welcome and embrace all people.

Where is Warwickshire Pride happening?

The festival takes place at the Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa, CV32 4AA.

Where can I park my car? Parking is available at St Peter's multi-storey car park on Augusta Place (Postcode: CV32 5EL). The car park is a one minute walk from the Pump Room Gardens where Warwickshire Pride takes place. It costs a maximum of £4.50 for the whole day.

Is there access for disabled people? Yes. The Pump Room Gardens is fully accessible and we work with disability groups to ensure that Warwickshire Pride continues to be accessible for people with physical and learning disabilities.



Meet the Trustees

DAN


Hi, I'm Dan and I am the founder and Chair of Warwickshire Pride. I've worked since 2011 to make Warwickshire a more accepting, safe and welcoming place for LGBT+ people. From being told that there are no gay people in Warwickshire and that Warwickshire Pride will fail, it's great to see how far we have come since then.


I identify as gay and my pronouns are he/him. I was born in Leamington and still live locally. I first came out at 15 and have come out to someone every year since then, which means I've been coming out for 20 years so far.


Warwickshire Pride started as a weekly LGBT+ youth group. That's all it was going to be. But then many people started getting in touch to say they needed support and spoke of the issues they face. It fired me up and is part of why I'm so passionate about dragging Warwickshire into the 21st Century and ensuring it becomes as LGBT friendly as possible.


There's a fantastic team of trustees and volunteers involved in Warwickshire Pride and it's an honour to lead a charity that's doing some really good, life changing work. Do get involved if you want to help make a difference.


Away from Pride, I'm a hypnotherapist, so helping people is very much part of who I am. I love food, horror films, 80s music and Star Trek.

BECK


Hello wonderful people! My name is Beck Hemsley, and I joined the Warwickshire Pride trustee team as Secretary. I'm trans non-binary and my pronouns are they/them. I've been out for about two years now, and it's definitely been an interesting ride. My friends and family are wonderful and so supportive, but there's been a lot of painful times dealing with the world of work and the wider public. My big passion is campaigning for trans rights wherever I am, and trying to educate the people around me about non-binary identities - that's why I decided to get involved with Warwickshire Pride. I also have Seasonal Affective Disorder which means I get severe depression in winter, so I try to be an advocate for support and understanding of mental health conditions.


I live in Rugby and have done all my life (except for uni in York). My professional background is in heritage, and I've spent a lot of time researching LGBT+ history in Warwickshire. I believe that knowing our background and where we come from can help inform our future.


My other delight is anything creative - I paint and draw, make clothes and costumes, and do various crafts including leatherwork and pyrography. My big hobby at the moment is LARP (live action roleplay games) - the community at these games is amazing and they are some of the most inclusive and supportive places for LGBT+ people. They're where I first saw pronoun badges being widely used and respected!


I'm really looking forward to getting more involved in the team, and seeing what I can do for the LGBT+ community in Warwickshire.

THERESA


Hi. My name is Theresa and I have been married to Leanne since March 2015. We didn't have an easy path before we married but I don't know what I would do without her now.


This is my first same sex relationship, following several disastrous relationships with men. Don't get me wrong - it wasn't just because they were men. I just chose very unwisely! But out of the bad times I have three fab children with two grandchildren on the way. No one batted an eyelid when I started seeing Leanne. I was lucky given the poor experiences I have heard from other people. My family's view was that as long as I was happy, they were happy.


I volunteered with Warwickshire Pride for the first couple of festivals. After the hate incident in Stratford in 2018, I felt passionate about becoming a voice for the LGBT+ community and helping to educate the general public to show them that the LGBT+ community are nothing to fear or abuse.


I became the treasurer and a trustee of Warwickshire Pride in April 2018 and I am proud to tell the world that. It can be a challenge to maintain a secure financial position in the current climate but I am determined to help Warwickshire Pride go from strength to strength.

HEALEY


Hi, my name is Healey. I came across Warwickshire Pride in 2013 at the Peace Festival. They had a stall there. Back then Warwickshire Pride was just a youth group called Push Projects for young LGBT+ people. I was a youth member at the time. I then became a volunteer as I was getting too old for the group. I became a trustee in 2016 and I love what I do.


I run some of the Pride services such as the coffee social, parents group, the youth group and so on.

I am also a drag queen called Sassi Afrika . I started drag in 2013 at the first Warwickshire Pride.


I have learning disabilities and cerebral palsy but I never let that stop me from doing what I want to do.


I love what I do and I love getting stuck in with things by helping, supporting and giving back to LGBT+ people in our community.

LEANNE


Hey, I'm Leanne. I've been with Warwickshire Pride pretty much from the very beginning but have only recently become a trustee due to not being able to fully commit before.


My background is care work. Having gained my diploma level in health and social care, I predominantly supported adults with learning disabilities and autism and the elderly but have pretty much worked in every care setting possible!


I wanted to get involved with Warwickshire Pride because I love being a part of something and somewhere where everyone can come and feel included and safe. I am also responsible for safeguarding due to working closely in this area for many years.


Safeguarding is not a scary thing. It just means I need to ensure all the young and vulnerable people who use our services are protected and feel safe.


I have been on the receiving end of bullying for my sexuality before and can safely say it is not something I ever want to experience again and if I can be a support to just one person going through a similar situation so they don't have to go through what I went through then I have done my job!


Enough about me now! Thank you for continuing to support Warwickshire Pride and as always, if you want to get involved, please contact us!

CLARA


Pronouns: She/her
Heterosexual, married with four kids.


I got involved with Warwickshire Pride as a trustee because I know how important it is to be an ally to the LGBT+ community. Those of us in the "majority" need to openly support our LGBT+ loved ones, friends and colleagues and play a critical role in challenging bias and prejudices.


I work in a diversity and inclusion role in the construction sector, and really enjoy making my company and the industry a better place to work. But whilst it's great that more and more companies are trying to be more inclusive, I was aware that in my local community hate crime and a lack of support from our local council and MP meant that LGBT+ people in my area were still not being treated fairly, and in particular that young people and their families may not be getting the support they deserve.


Warwickshire Pride are working hard to change the landscape for LGBT+ people and I am proud to be part of that, and I personally have learnt more about LGBT+ issues and have met the most wonderful people.

PENNY


I got involved with Warwickshire Pride after being moved to take part in the march as part of Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations that was prompted by a series of nasty homophobic incidents in Stratford-upon-Avon, where I live. Shortly after that, I volunteered to be a trustee.


Warwickshire is a small County - a little like Cornwall where I’m from - and whilst LGBT+ rights have got better in my lifetime, the fact that there’s still hate and prejudice in any civilised society, is unacceptable.


I came out when I was 30 and I am very aware that my journey has been very different to other LGBT+ people but at this point in my life, I am in a good position to be able to raise awareness and help support the community of which I’m part of.


The trustees of Warwickshire Pride are a really diverse group of people, from all walks of life and with unique experiences and I’ve probably got more from working with them than I’ll ever be able to provide. It’s great to be able to work as part of a really diverse team of people and I would encourage anyone, that if they’re passionate about something, to do the same and volunteer.

AMY


Hi, I'm Amy. I'm a trustee of Warwickshire Pride and a volunteer mentor at the Proud Youth group. I am in my 40s and have 2 young daughters and a beautiful girlfriend. I identify as lesbian and my pronouns are she/her.


I have been involved in Warwickshire Pride for almost a year, having first attended the Rainbow Christmas Party where I enquired about volunteering with the youth group. My background is in working with young people, both in schools and youth clubs, and teaching English in an alternative education provision.


Having come out later in life, and coming from a very conservative religious background, I am passionate about people being enabled to be themselves, in any and every setting, and links being made within local, and wider, communities.

SAM


I became a trustee at the start of 2019 because I felt passionate about helping LGBT+ people in the community. I help run Proud Youth which is a weekly group that allows young LGBT+ people to be themselves and make new friends.


It’s been really eye-opening listening to their stories and experiences of being different in a world that wants everyone to be the same. Many young LGBT+ people suffer with their mental health and its vital that they have a safe space they can go to access help and support. That’s why we’ve recently started a new youth group in Stratford-upon-Avon as we felt it was important to expand our provision of youth services across Warwickshire.


I enjoy singing and acting in my spare time, and this year came runner up in Warwickshire Pride’s Got Talent. I was honoured to be asked to perform at Warwickshire Pride 2019 and sang three of my favourite Michael Buble songs.

MICHELLE


I moved to Stratford from Sheffield in 2015, and should have moved much sooner. I found a group on the net called Warwickshire Pride and contacted them by phone. They sounded positive.


The first meeting I attended was their AGM - not always a good first choice. I was impressed by the trustees, their vision, commitment and common sense approach. I volunteered at the Pride festival in Leamington and had a really good day. I also attended socials and events and felt very welcomed by all and found them enjoyable.


Having gained so much from participating, I decided to offer to help with the running of Warwickshire Pride. I am now a trustee and very much involved, trying to maintain the vision and welcome all.