Chester Pride has been growing as an organisation every year since it was first established in 2013. Whilst we focused on running the Chester Pride event, since our 5th anniversary we have also recognised that we can't just be an organisation that puts on a Pride event, we need to be there to support the LGBT+ community all year round. Even in the face of Coronavirus we have not stopped or reduced what we do, instead we have started more projects than ever to try and support LGBT+ people, especially during these times of crisis.
But there are two main issues we face. The LGBT+ community are facing more challenges, inequality, and discrimination than ever, and we are struggling to meet these needs as we do not have our own space which limits what we can provide. However, we have risen to the occasion and have come up with our biggest project ever, one that will let us overcome these issues and be the organisation that we know we can be.
That project is the opening of our very own venue, one that will let us do the work we need to do to support the LGBT+ community and grow as a charity, but also create stability for us as it generates income to support our work. This will be our very own café and community space right in the heart of Chester's city centre.
Our vision is to have a café that is a safe social space where everyone has a place. But more than that it will be a place where you can get advice and information, attend inclusive social events, and drop in to talk to our support staff. Separate to the café will be our community spaces, where our support staff will work all year round on our various mental health, wellbeing, crisis, and advice services, plus we can host support groups, community events, exhibitions, and more.
How Your Support Helps
We know that we can't do this alone. This is a project that will work for the community, and with the community, letting us provide the support and services that the LGBT+ community are urgently requesting. By backing this project you will get us a step closer to achieving our biggest project ever, and therefore help us to do more for the community. Donations of any size will help us. For every £1 that is put in to help us fit out and decorate our venue, about £100 of services will be delivered as our other projects expand into the accessible, appropriate facilities and space they require.
If you back this project we will not only send you some exclusive merchandise as a thank you, but also keep you updated with our progress, even beyond our opening in 2021. This means you will be able to know just how much you're supporting the LGBT+ and wider community.
Our Six Reasons Why
There are so many reasons why we're undertaking this huge project, but we've summed it up into six key reasons:
- The LGBT+ community needs more support - The LGBT+ community faces multiple challenges, with the need for more support, more access to information, and space to socialise with other members of the community. Our space will offer this space, and run events to provide individual and group opportunities for support and socialisation.
- Chester Pride needs room to grow - We are growing and need space to expand our project work. Having an established location will help us recruit more volunteers, expand our projects, and help more of the community.
- Safe spaces are needed - The LGBT+ community want, and need, safe and accessible spaces where they can be themselves and be supported. The café, being run by Chester Pride, will be that safe space, and our charity offices in the same building will let us offer safe spaces to access support, advice, and information, particularly with mental health one of the biggest health crises facing the community.
- Our support will be for everyone - It’s not just LGBT+ people affected by the issues they face, their family and friends are often affected as well. By creating the community space we will be able to help everyone through our plans for support groups, and by creating a safe social space with special social activities.
- The community wants social opportunities that reflect themselves - LGBT+ people want to socialise with their community, meet people like themselves, and feel part of the LGBT+ family. Our café will be a venue for a range of social events, catering to all needs, ages, interests, identities and more.
- We will work for a wider community - More flexible and affordable community spaces are needed in Chester. Our venue will not just be for our use, but we will let other community groups access the space as well, and many of our events and support services will include others, such as our plans for dementia and anxiety cafes.