This year’s troubled Brighton Pride was dealt another blow yesterday with the withdrawal of one of its backers.
The Women’s Performance Tent has backed out after its organisers, Brighton Women’s Centre, said they could not be sure Pride Organisers would give them the funding they needed.
Brighton and Hove City Council leader Mary Mears said she would be holding a meeting with senior council officers and other party leaders to look at the concerns raised. The council has given Pride a loan of £20,000 and allocated £6,000 in funding for voluntary groups to take part in the parade.
In an open letter, published in GScene, the centre said: “This year, our resources and faith in the Pride planning process have been stretched beyond reasonable limits by that organisation’s ad-hoc planning and poor communication.
It added: “Adequate funding, promised on 10 February 2010 at a Brighton Pride community forum meeting, has still not been finalised. If we proceed, we run the risk of incurring debts for Brighton Women’s Centre.
“Responsibly, in terms of our own reputations and the well-being of all parties involved, we are not prepared to do this, and consider that the volatile political and economic climate surrounding Pride means we would take undue risks by proceeding.”
Mrs Mears said: “Following the concerns that have been raised with me about Pride, I am convening a meeting with senior officers and other political group leaders to try and find a way forward with this. Pride is a fantastic community event for the City and we want to do everything we can to make sure that it can continue to be so.”
Liberal Democrat leader Paul Elgood said: “It is extremely concerning that a growing number of backers are not supporting the event this year. I am very sad that many of the key names associated with the event have now been lost. These people have given so much over the years.
“The council needs to be doing more to ensure that the conditions of the Pride loan are met, for example through improved links with the business community. Public money must also ensure community gain from investment, this must be ensured.”
Gill Mitchell, leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove Council said: “The city council needs to show leadership and encourage Pride to explain themselves. Pride and events like it are what makes Brighton unique for everyone. A Pride without organisations like the womens centre and everyone involved with the Women’s Performance Tent production team involved would not be the same.”