A new Pride festival will launch in Staffordshire in 2022 to offer greater support to the region’s LGBTQ+ community.
Plans for the first Chase Pride have been announced, aimed at the communities within the Cannock Chase area, with outreach and education programmes planned alongside an annual festival to help reduce the level of homophobic and transphobic hate crime.
The first Pride festival will take place on Saturday 3 September in Hednesford park, its purpose to celebrate diversity and inclusion, support the local LGBT community, break down barriers and raise awareness of LGBT issues.
Chase Pride Committee Chairperson, Kathryn Downs said: “As a nation we have made great progress on LGBT+ rights in recent years, but with hate crimes and discrimination continuing to spiral across the UK, it’s obvious there is still work to do.
“In the Cannock Chase region, alarming statistics showed hate crimes against our community doubled in the two years from 2016 to 2018.
“We began discussions in 2019, with hopes of launching Chase Pride in 2020, but Covid has unfortunately halted plans until now.
“Our Pride event will be a fun celebration of LGBT+ culture, while providing opportunities for the general public to learn about the issues facing our community and signposting to outreach services for those in need.
“We have tremendous support for this locally and we’re thrilled to have been granted charitable status. Our organising committee includes fellow councillors from Hednesford Town and Cannock Chase District Council as well as residents and professionals who care about bringing everyone in our community closer.”
It is hoped the event will become an annual fixture that can tour the Cannock Chase district, being hosted in various towns across the region in years to come.
Chase Pride branding has combined the Pride rainbow with the iconic Cannock Chase stag, giving it a unique identity for the region and branded merchandise will be available in the run-up to the event, with all proceeds helping fund activities on the day.
“We’re planning a family friendly event offering a variety of activities for all ages. As well as a ticketed main stage area with music and variety acts on stage, there will be open air elements to the day including a market and community stalls, a funfair, craft workshops and more,” Cllr Downs added.
“It’s already gaining momentum and our committee and team of volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to make this first Chase Pride a fantastic event.”