What we do
Folkestone Pride supports the LGBTQAI+ people of Folkestone and the surrounding area, through an annual programme of outreach activities and events.
There is no permanent LGBT venue in the entire district, so Folkestone Pride provides safe spaces for LGBT people to socialise and support one another, as well as undertaking outreach work in the community; ensuring representation for the LGBT community and ensuring their rights are protected and their voices heard.
Our not-for-profit community group is a constituted unincorporated association run entirely by volunteers for the benefit of the community.
Why are we fundraising?
We are run entirely by volunteers and we are heavily reliant on our year-round programme of events to raise funds. Unfortunately virtually all of our 2020 fundraising events have had to be cancelled due to Covid-19, including our 2020 town-wide Pride Festival, which was 8 months in preparation. The cancellation of Pride 2020 was heart-breaking after so much groundwork and preparation. We are in urgent need of funds to ensure the organisation can continue and to make Pride 2021 a big success.
How are the people we work with disadvantaged?
LGBTQAI+ people experience greater-than-average levels of social exclusion. Mental health problems and suicide rates are high, exacerbated further by the lockdowns in 2020.
Rethink.org reports that gay and bisexual men are four times more likely to attempt suicide than the rest of the population; that 88% of transgender people had experienced depression, and 84% had thought of ending their life.
The Guardian reported homophobic and transphobic hate crimes surged in England between 2014-19; offences against gay and lesbian people doubled, and trebled against trans people. Kent police reported a 42% annual rise in the number of LGBT hate crimes in 2018-2019. The BBC reported Transgender hate crimes went up 81%.
There is no permanent LGBTQAI+ venue in the entire district (137 square miles, population 113,000).
Genuinely inclusive events are rare. With a large elderly population and a long military history, social values here are historically rather conservative, and attitudes towards LGBTQAI+ people can be intolerant.
Our district includes Romney Marsh, one of the most deprived areas in the UK and the largest in Kent according to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2019; an extremely isolated rural area. Folkestone Harbour and East are also among the most deprived areas in Kent. Our work is genuinely intergenerational and it brings diverse people together, promoting community cohesion and tolerance.
How will your funds make a difference?
Folkestone Pride acts as an umbrella for the district’s LGBTQAI+ community, providing a safe space for people to meet, socialise and learn. We are regularly called upon to raise awareness, educate, provide representation and advise on related issues.
We help ensure the district is a welcoming place for LGBTQAI+ people. The parade is a highly-visible celebration of inclusivity and tolerance; such displays of public support are particularly important for at-risk younger LGBTQAI+ people.
With your support we can help show LGBTQAI+ people that they are part of a vibrant, diverse and loving community.