BRIGHTON and Hove will be painted red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, as it shows its Pride this weekend.
Neil Vowles reports on what the 160,000 party revellers can expect in 2014’s version of this great celebration of the LGBT community.
THIS year’s Pride will be the most accessible in the country and in the event’s history.
Organisers have put special focus on making sure it does not exclude the elderly, the hearing or visually impaired and wheelchair users.
In a symbolic gesture to mark the inclusivity of the event, 50 members of the Brighton and Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum will lead the parade today in a cavalcade of golf buggies.
The forum’s chairman Billie Lewis said putting disabled people at the front of the queue was an important symbol that Pride was for everybody.
He said: “We have worked very hard to make sure this will happen and we are confident that this will be the most accessible Pride in the country.
“We hope other events will look at what we have done and use us an example.”
After months of public consultations and discussions, organisers have come up with a range of innovations to help make attending Pride as easy as possible for those with accessibility issues. The centre of support can be found at the access tent at the northern end of Preston Park, which will treble up as a safe space, an information point and a place to report hate crimes.
Visitors will be able to help themselves to a BSL (British Sign Language) takeaway, where interpreters will be made available for 30-minute slots to accompany people around the park.
Hydraulic lifts will help people in and out of their chairs or on to changing beds, while charging facilities for up to 16 mobility scooters will allow people to top-up their support vehicles for 30 minutes.
A freedom pass, the first of its kind to be developed in the country, will allow those with access issues to let support staff know discreetly of any needs they might have allowing them to get to facilities and services they need.
Mr Lewis said: “The freedom pass gives guaranteed access and takes the stress out of people’s day.”
The innovations have been met with approval by one of Brighton Pride’s best-known supporters, Eastenders star June Brown.
In a message of goodwill to all at this year’s Pride she said: “I am absolutely delighted that the elderly are being appreciated by the younger generation in this year’s Pride and are now able to join with you in your day.”