By Lily Houston
On the 9th of January there was a very heated debate regarding funding for Pride Canterbury at the Canterbury Area Members Panel at the Guild Hall.
The Chairman of Pride Canterbury made a presentation on Monday evening to the Councillors that sit on the Canterbury Area Members Panel of Canterbury City Council. Pride Canterbury were asking for a grant of £1000 to cover start-up costs for the event which is due to take place in June.
Most Councillors agreed with the event going ahead, however, they did not think that the money from the grant should be raised in this way and suggested organizers raise money themselves.
Edd Withers, Chair of Pride Canterbury said after the decision, “the committee are really disappointed not to get the full support of our local Councillors. Pride is an incredibly important event to the whole community, and is completely not-for-profit and run by a team of volunteers. We will continue to rely on the amazing support we have received from the business community of the City.”
You can view the full statement from Pride Canterbury here.
Pride Canterbury will take place on the 10th of June, and will feature a march through the city centre, starting near the Marlowe Theatre, and finishing in the Dane John Gardens, where a huge celebration of LGBT+ identity will take place.
Dean Heckley, also known as Delilah Tickles will host the event, and added “it’s going to be an amazing show, just like last year, and we can’t wait to welcome all our friends and families to this amazing event!”
A statement released by the Press Office for Canterbury Council regarding the decision said: “The Canterbury Area Member Panel has £10,000 available a year to support community groups and activities.
“At Monday’s meeting, following awards in 2016, there was £2,255 left for the year, with one meeting still to come. Three applications totaling £6,520 needed a decision, so the total of the bids was considerably more than the pot available.
“Councillors were very supportive of Pride Canterbury, but hard choices had to be made given the limited money and regrettably the decision was taken not to provide funding for this group. We feel that comments made subsequently that we do not support minority groups are not accurate and do not reflect the views of Councillors who spoke at the meeting.
“In a strange way, it’s possible that none of the three groups left the Guildhall happy, because neither of the two successful bidders were awarded nearly anything like what they asked for.
“The Opportunities Fund is popular and we would love to be in a position to provide every bidder with everything they ask for, but our finances simply do not allow this and it’s inevitable some people will be left disappointed.”
If you would like to get involved in helping Pride Canterbury, either through sponsorship, donations, or helping with the event itself on the day, you can contact them via their Facebook page where they have set up a crowd funding page at www.facebook.com/pridecanterbury.