Tameside get’s ready for Pride first!

Publish Date: 19/05/2014

On 28th June, Tameside will be holding its first ever Pride event and The Lesbian & Gay Foundation will be taking part. Here we talk to Bev Taylor from Tameside and Oldham Gay Society about what we can all look forward to on the day.

Whose idea was it to put on Tameside’s first ever Pride event?

The idea to plan Tameside’s first Pride has been a discussion for quite a few years. A couple of years ago a friend opened a pub on the border of Ashton and Oldham. It soon turned out to be the local meeting point for the LGB&T community. The pub had a weekly drag cabaret, which got people reminiscing about the old Tameside scene and particularly Ashton’s Clarence and Blues venue. The consensus was that there was nowhere to go and we should set something up for social events. This was the beginning of TOGS (Tameside and Oldham Gay Society).

TOGS meet on a regular basis, organising trips out and they have organised meetings in various local LGB&T friendly bars but the bars keep closing!  TOGS became a constituted community group aimed at identifying gaps in services, and social meeting points for the local LGB&T community. We approached Broadoak Community Centre who support Tameside Pride as a priority need for this year. TOGS committee put in a funding application to Tameside You Choose and secured enough funding to actually make Pride happen. The local councillor also supported the idea and has covered the costs of venue hire for the event. All contact we have had from the Local Authority has been very positive. Local councillors are very supportive.

Why is it important to have a Pride event in the area?

Other small towns have a Pride event so why not Tameside? Tameside has a long history of venues and support for LGBT community and we feel that this history should be celebrated and try to get some of the old faces back out there.

What support have you had from other organisations?

It has opened many doors for other community groups to get together and be out and proud. We are working with Renaissance a support group for LGBT adults with learning difficulties, who attend a monthly social. It is still a small group but if we raise funds through Pride it will enable us to support more groups and provide activities and events. We are also in contact with Tameside LGB&T youth group who are having an information stall at Pride. Local businesses especially the Ladysmith pub support us with meeting space, fund raising events and donations for raffle and tombola prizes. Manchester Dogs Home has been fantastic and Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service has also been a great support and is promoting the event. Local companies are sponsoring food and drinks. So all in all we have lots of supporters.

How difficult is it to put on an event like Pride from scratch?

It has been extremely difficult as a very small core group who all have full time jobs it has been difficult getting everyone together at the same time working around shifts etc. We have also had people taking an interest and agreeing action plans at meetings and then not coming back or sending information on. On the whole though we’ve had a great time and now things are coming together we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

What would you like to achieve with this first event?

From this first event we would like to achieve satisfaction that it’s all gone to plan, that people have had a good time and that there is an identified need for LGB&T services locally. We want to use the event to assess the needs of the community and highlight gaps in services. Most importantly we want to get all the old faces and characters from the past to come and have a good old reminisce and share the struggles and barriers they faced to help LGB&T people become equal.

What are the long term objectives of the event?

The long term aim of TOGS is to set up services for the LGBT community locally. To provide information and education. To have a safe space to meet and plan for the future. We would hope to have a Pride event annually and to hold themed social evenings on a regular basis. My own personal goal is to have a social housing scheme which is specifically for LGB&T older people.

What can we look forward to on the day?

1pm - Pink Pooch Parade meeting at Camp Street car park (facing the Ladysmith pub) The parade will go to Broadoak & Smallshaw Community Centre. Broadoak Road.

1pm- 4pm - dog show and information and marketing stands.

4pm - live music from Tameside’s finest.

7pm - ticket only event (£5.00) available through Pride web site .A variety of live bands, drag acts, punk bands, boy bands, singers and performers throughout the evening ending with Almost Pink tribute artist. There are also reunion rooms showing photos, videos, statements and memorabilia from the Clarence and Blues years. There will be a licensed bar and food available throughout the event.

How can people get involved?

We need volunteers for all aspects of the day marshalling the parade, stewards on sight. We need help to make sets, costumes and scenery before the event.

We need donations for raffle and tombola prizes, refreshments for volunteers and performers. Anything people can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Anyone who wants to register their pooch, perform or host a stall should contact via the website. Tickets available directly from here too.