People are invited to the first Sefton Pride event, which will take place this summer in Southport.
It is free to attend and will take place on Sunday, July 16, 2023, between midday and 6pm at Victoria Park in Southport.
Music, food and drink, family fun, live shows, and other activities are available to visitors.
It is being organised by Sefton Pride CIC, which is also organising a Pride march in Southport that morning for those who wish to take part.
Southport resident Jen Corcoran was inspired to organise the event after watching Joe Lycett’s More, More, More! Show at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool last year.
Part of the set was dedicated to how Joe Lycett had curated a Pride event in his home town.
He was selling pin badges that said “Sometimes if you want something to exist, you have to make it yourself.”
Jen came away from the gig determined to bring an event to her own home town.
A year later, she founded Sefton Pride CIC with Southport Flower Show and Victoria Park Events General Manager Alan Adams and Marshside Primary School Headteacher Natasha Sandland.
Jen initially approached Alan Adams about using Victoria Park for a banner making event in Summer 2022.
After some discussion, they decided that it would be better to have a bigger, planned event, and plan for the following year.
A networking group was set up which included Natasha Sandland, Headteacher of Marshside Primary School, known locally as the “little school with a big heart and big ambitions”.
It won the Sefton School of the Year accolade at the 2023 Pride of Sefton Awards earlier this year.
Natasha Sandland said:
“I was keen to get involved in the project as I feel Sefton has such a diverse population that we don’t celebrate enough.
“I think my role as a primary headteacher is key to generating understanding and giving children a forum to ask questions and be curious.
“Promoting a safe and inclusive Sefton is rooted in education. Aside from this, Pride in Sefton, what great fun to be involved!”
Natasha has been instrumental in bringing on board the artist for the 2023 merchandise as well as assisting with distributing a survey around schools in Sefton to ensure this event is driven by what the community wants.
Victoria Park on Rotten Row in Southport, where the Sefton Pride event will be held, is a real jewel in the crown of Southport and Sefton and the ideal location for people who live in the town as well as being accessible further and wider.
Park manager Alan Adams has done an incredible job since acquiring his dream role – no mean feat when you consider navigating a pandemic was one of the first curve balls he was thrown after assuming his role. His commitment to hosting high quality events that unite communities is clear.
Alan Adams said:
“I am honoured to be asked to get involved in Sefton Pride. The Liverpool City Region Pride network has done great things for the LGBTQ+ community across Merseyside but we have a lot more to do in areas outside of the city centre.
“As an ally, I want to help celebrate diversity in Sefton and increase the visibility of our LGBTQ+ community. Sefton Pride will help platform local LGBTQ+ voices, playing its part in making our borough a safe and welcoming space.”
His events expertise and passion for this project make Victoria Park the ideal venue for this inaugural event.
The event itself will be free to attend and will run from 12-6pm on Sunday 16th July. In addition to the entertainment, community groups, food, drink and more on offer in the park, there will be a march to the event that morning for those who wish to take part, and are able.
Organiser Jen Corcoran is working with local groups and disability advocates to ensure the march and event are as accessible as possible.
Jen Corcoran said:
“I am delighted that we are bringing a Pride event to this borough. As a lifelong resident of Southport, I know this is something that has been tried before.
“As a local representative involved in equality networks, I know this is something communities want.
“It is incredibly sad that we live in a time where people not causing any harm still cannot be accepted for who they are, and who they love, but this event is a fantastic opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community and allies to stand up and shout it loud!
“I am so grateful for the support from friends, family, Southport BID, Sefton CVS, Sefton Council and LCR Pride Foundation, as well as the many local businesses and groups which will be involved in this exciting event.”