UK Pride 27th July 2018

It only seems like yesterday that the Island turned into a sea of rainbows and the community joined together, young and old, straight and LGBT, to stand up and show that the Island is an inclusive and welcoming community.

For years all the jokes seemed to be about the Island being stuck in the 1950s, both in terms of attitude and infrastructure.

Those misconceptions were blown away in July, 2017, giving the Island the opportunity to stand up and share messages about equality and inclusion. For many who had left the Island due to Homophobic attitudes, to return and see such a welcoming event left them in tears. It also gave courage and strength to Islanders who had spent many years denying their true selves, and not being honest to friends and loved ones. For the first time, they were able to ‘come out’ and lose the burden of hiding a secret that no longer needed to be hidden away.

The positive vibe after the Island’s first Pride Festival continued, giving inspiration and passion to the team of volunteers behind Pride to bid to host UKPride in only its second year. With well established Pride events such as Liverpool and Cardiff Pride pitching to host the event, there wasn’t much hope for the Island, but 100 percent effort was put into the submission and the team came away from Blackpool in October with the fabulous news of a successful bid, with the event taking place on Saturday, July 21st.

The work hasn’t stopped there; the team behind this event are all volunteers and based on the Island, but have built a growing team that aims to pull off one of the big events for 2018 on the Isle of Wight.

There have been some misconceptions that by winning UKPRIDE, there will be extra support in organising the event, or extra money towards running it. Neither is true. Isle of Wight Pride are working hard to not only put on a fantastic, fully inclusive, fully accessible, free event, but also gain funding, sponsorship and support.

Matt from Isle of Wight Pride said: “Having never worked in the events business before, it’s incredible when you start to see how much it all costs. From toilets, security, fencing and sign language interpreters through to tents, marquees and other structures. This is all before we even consider the costs for acts to perform and entertain. We desperately want to maintain this as a free event, but we cannot do that without sponsors, supporters and donations. We have some incredible fundraising events happening throughout the year and we welcome any donations that people can make.”

Pride became a registered charity in 2017 and have a long term aim of being able to use surplus funds from their event to support LGBT projects on the Island. Anyone can donate to Pride via their website www.iwpride.org where you can also find exciting updates about the big event in July 2018. You can also follow Pride on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – @iwpride.

Julie from TeamPride said: “There is so much planned. Not only do we have our main event on Saturday, July 21st, but there are two months of exciting events including an Art Gallery in the Newport, events in Freshwater and Ventnor and Opera in Cowes and East Cowes. Pride will be spread across the Island and we need people to get involved, not just on July 21st, but across the year. It’s a brilliant opportunity to do something rewarding for the Island, work with a fantastic group of people and make new friends. To get involved email [email protected]”.

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