The Zhoosh! Brighton Blog
Zhoosh catches up with Trevor Edwards, Director of Pride Brighton & Hove CIC.
What is your current role and how long have you been involved with Pride?
I am currently a director of the new community interest company that is Pride Brighton & Hove; principally I am involved in operations and planning for both the parade and park event on September 1st. It’s all a bit different from attending my first Pride in London back in the late eighties and never did I imagine that when I done a volunteer t-shirt in 2005 that I would be helping to lead Britain’s best loved Pride some seven years later.
Aside from your role as Pride Director, tell us three facts we may not know about you?
I just asked around the office and apparently the number one thing is that I am addicted to diet coke, but as people have spotted that I think it is known! So the first is that I used to run an IT company. The second I suppose is that I grew up in a small Devon village, but I have no strong accent and everyone thinks I am home counties. The third is that I have only lived in Brighton for five years, it’s great that people think I have been here much longer maybe I have become that illusive thing, a Brightonian!
For those who may not know much about what goes on behind-the-scenes, explain what your role of Director entails?
Where do I start? It’s all about pulling people and plans together. That can be on any front from volunteering to sponsorship. The event takes the combined effort of many people in the planning stage and hundreds on the delivery of the event itself. The overriding principles are about getting commitment and understanding from all involved. However, there is no standard day, one moment I can be trying to persuade a company to become a sponsor, the phone rings and then you are talking about resourcing for the parade or policing for the park. There are always long to-do lists and plenty of variety.
You have been involved with a number of Pride’s over many years now. What is it about Pride that means so much to you?
I suppose for every person within our community Pride is part of their coming out story, their acknowledgement of who they are. When I came out the age of consent for men was still 21 years and you wouldn’t want to walk through town holding hands. Pride was about having a safe space and day where the LGBT community took over and were actually the majority for the day and that was important. That is still important today, our rights might have progressed but it is still a day for us to be the majority, to press for our rights like equal marriage. It empowers those that come and offers hope to communities around the world and around the corner where others in the LGBT community are still fighting for their rights and/or acceptance.
What made you want to work at Brighton Pride and be a Director?
I was contracted to the former Pride charity to run the parade in 2010 and 2011, that came about because a friend thrust the job description in front of me and went that’s you! And to be fair the job description was an exact mix of my business skills and roles that I had undertaken in the voluntary sector so it was a natural fit and I’d always enjoyed my time with Pride’s and the the people involved. The new role just sort of happened, when old Pride died I was approached to take up the role which was great, as I am no longer restricted to all things parade. My other interim management and charity roles mean I could pretty much cover all bases. But what makes me to continue to do the job? Quite simply it is one of the best in Brighton!
What has been your favourite moment to date throughout your time involved in Pride?
There have been plenty but most have involved seeing volunteers flourish and working together. When I decided to step down from Pride London in 2010 to concentrate on Brighton I had a lot of kind words from a number of people, but it was a volunteer who told me that getting him involved with Pride had encouraged him to come out and given him the courage to do things he thought he’d never do (apparently shouting at large crowds of people with a megaphone). This eventually led to him changing jobs. That was a really great moment, it is the little things that matter.
For those who may not be aware, Pride is now under new management. Can you explain the changes and who’s involved for those that don’t know.
Sadly, Pride (South East), the charity that ran Pride within the city, had a number of cost overruns and VAT issues which they could not overcome. This only became apparent at the beginning of the year when they effectively ceased trading. Seeing what was happening a number of business leaders from Club Revenge, Wild Fruit and GScene formed a new community interest company (that’s the CIC bit you see at the end of our name) and we have Pride Brighton & Hove CIC. The new company is a social enterprise that looks after both the parade and park event. The constitution of the company guarantees that all distributable profits from the event go to LGBT causes within Brighton & Hove. We are making this by donating to the Rainbow Fund, but we have gone further by saying that £1 of every ticket sold for the Preston Park event will go directly to the Rainbow Fund regardless. We aim to give at least £35,000 that way. I am really pleased that we have already passed our first donation of over £5,000 to the Rainbow Fund in the past week.
If someone is reading this and would like to get involved in Brighton Pride or any other Pride, what’s the best way to get involved.
Volunteering is always rewarding and we value individuals contributions immensely. We are going to be putting out a call for volunteers to help us on the parade and in the park in the next couple of weeks. So look out for that! It is amazing to think that is how I started, volunteering for an afternoon can really take you places. If you want to pre-register an interest drop us an email to email@example.com
How can people stay up to date with details about Brighton Pride?
We have a wonderful new website at www.pridebrighton.org (don’t forget to buy your tickets online!), where you can sign up for newsletters and our new phone number is 01273 257225 where there is a recorded information system. You can also join the thousands of fans at our Facebook page www.facebook.com/brightonpride and we tweet almost daily (well when I remember) at www.twitter.com/pridebrighton.