A small group of first-time event organisers are planning to literally put the Pride into Banbury this summer.
Banbury Pride, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community group is in the early stages of organising the town’s first ever Pride event pencilled in for Saturday, July 13.
The group, which was formed in September, is aiming for an inaugural town centre event with a Brazilian theme.
Chair Amie Dolton said: “There’s myself and another lady called Claire, she’s the one that initially said Banbury needs a Pride. We were meeting once a month but we are now meeting every two weeks trying to get it organised.
“The theme is in response to treatment of the LGBT community in Brazil by the new president. It’s to show solidarity with the Brazilian community.
She added: “We’re going to have loads of stalls, street entertainment, flags every where, lots of windows decorated.”
Other LGBT groups and organisations have been invited and Banbury Pride are hoping to involve as many Banbury based organisations, businesses and educational centres as possible.
Amie said: “We want to have the usual fun things, food and drink there but we also want to make sure there is a lot of support there as well.
“We’re hoping to have Stonewall, which is a really big LGBT charity, run a stall. Mental health charities, the Young Women’s Trust, that’s another stall we are hoping to have, quite a few support based stalls.
“While we want this to be a fun event we want it to be safe and we want people to feel they are part of a community that care about each other.”
There will be no march but Banbury Pride wants to involve pubs and clubs for a Pride Pub Crawl in the evening and see the event as filling a void that has long been neglected.
Although Warwick and Oxford already have Pride events, Oxford’s beginning with a small street party in Paradise Street in 2002, there is nothing for Banbury, Bicester, Brackley and surrounding villages.
The organisers’ main aim, however, is for the event to celebrate inclusiveness and acceptance.
Amie said: “We want our event to be for everybody in Banbury, LGBT community or not, we want everyone to come and have fun.”
There is still a long way to go but initial reaction from both the LGBT and wider community has been positive.
Leader of Banbury Town Council Kieron Mallon said: “The council was asked if it would fly the pride flag and members agreed to do so. The pride event is, we understand, planned for July 13 and the flag will be flown on that day.”
The next step is fundraising with their first event happening this Saturday at Hanwell Fields Community Centre.
Amie said: “Sponsorship is a big thing that we’re looking at, at the minute. The fundraiser is definitely a starting point but we need look for some bigger sponsors to know what we have to work with.
“We’ve got to see what sort of stage we can afford, bringing in acts and stewards, that sort of thing.
Amie added: “I’m really enjoying it, it’s been a really big challenge. It’s keeping us all busy.”
To get involved with Banbury Pride email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page.