Takeover Tuesday – Warwickshire Pride

Each week, we’re inviting one of the many charities or community groups in Stratford to takeover our social media for the day with a series of posts outlining what they are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic to show our support. The full case study will appear here on our blog.

This week, we hear from Warwickshire Pride, the primary LGBT+ organisation in Warwickshire. They run a number of services and social events for LGBT+ people across the county and their mission is: “to ensure that all people feel valued and included in society, regardless of sexuality or gender identity”

Here, Daniel Browne, Chair of Warwickshire Pride, tells us how they have adapted their service while they are unable to deliver their activities face to face.

How have you adapted the services you provide during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Although our face to face support services and socials have had to stop, we have been able to move them online so that we can still support the community and keep everyone connected. We’re keeping our services running as normal and have even added a new mental health support group that runs on Zoom so that any LGBT+ person impacted by Covid-19 can talk and be listened to.

What’s the key thing that has surprised/pleased you?

Something that has surprised us is how smoothly the transition to running our services online has been. It’s gone so well that we are going to keep an online element to our support when things return to normal. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how adaptable we are as a charity and as a team.

What are the biggest challenges you are facing?

By far the biggest challenge is funding. All of our fundraising events have been cancelled. Those events help to cover Warwickshire Pride’s core costs and the huge loss of income will negatively impact us. Pots of funding are being withdrawn or their focus is changing, all of our sponsorship for 2020 has been withdrawn, and donations are down. This is a huge worry because our work is so vital and we need to be able to continue to support LGBT+ people across Warwickshire. Some people’s lives depend on our support.

Can you give an example describing the impact you’ve made on an individual/group of people?

Since we started running services in Stratford, we have been really pleased to see so many people accessing the groups and gaining a lot from attending. In particular, our LGBT+ youth group at Foundation House has enabled many young people to access support and a social outlet that simply didn’t exist for them in Stratford previously. Providing a place where young people can be themselves and express who they are in a safe and inclusive environment is incredibly empowering for them and rewarding for us.

Facts about who you have helped and how

We continue to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) people across Warwickshire. We usually reach over 5,000 people each year with our work. While it’s less than that at the moment because of the Covid-19 restrictions, we are able to continue providing support for those who need it. In fact, the services we have moved to being online temporarily has enabled people who couldn’t attend our face to face groups to finally access the support they need. For example, people who don’t have access to transport and live in rural locations can access support online. Since the pandemic started, we have still supported hundreds of people.

What could the community in Stratford do to support you?

The community in Stratford could support us by being kinder to LGBT+ people. There is still a lot of hate in Stratford; not just towards LGBT+ people, but towards anyone who is different. This needs to stop as LGBT+ people are suffering as a result of hate. The community in Stratford could also support our initiatives by volunteering, by fundraising, or by simply sending us a message to say that they support the LGBT+ community. This is something we can share with people we work with. Visible solidarity and support makes a difference.


Useful info and contact details

For up to date listings of Warwickshire Pride services, please visit www.warwickshirepride.co.uk/calendar. Alternatively, you can email: info@warwickshirepride.co.uk or call/text 07580532659.