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Gay Pride festival will go ahead in Rochester despite lack of Medway Council funding

Medway’s first Gay Pride festival will go ahead next year, despite lack of council funding.

Organisers of the LGBT+pride event, which will include a fancy dress parade, live performances and stalls, have started a crowdfunding campaign this month.

It will be held in Rochester, based around the Castle Gardens and town centre on a Saturday in the summer.

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Medway Council cannot afford to fund the event
Medway Council cannot afford to fund the event

It is being co-staged by Natasha Steer, a Chatham-based creative community arts co-ordinator, and Martha Abernathy, an American ex-pat living and working in Medway who is a trade unionist and LGBT rights campaigner.

Natasha said: “We want the first Medway Pride event to be a collaboration between services. We want it to be non-partisan but also supported by local parties and the local authority.”

Martha added: “Crowdfunding will give the LGBTQ+community and their allies in Medway the unique ability to support both the local community and the event.”

As a grassroots organisation, Medway Pride will look at various sources of funding as well as partners to be able to make the event happen.

Similar festivals have now sprung up in towns up and down the country to celebrate the culture of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other groups.

Medway Council has said it would welcome such an event, but does not have the money to organise one itself.

Deputy leader Cllr Howard Doe (Con), speaking to members last month highlighted a series of events organised by external organisations which have benefited from support from the council.

The Gay Pride march in Canterbury this summer
The Gay Pride march in Canterbury this summer

He added: “It should be borne in mind that there is currently no provision within any existing budgets for any costs that would be incurred in hosting such an event.

“We agree that planning for a pride event should be transparent and inclusive, and would look to the organiser to be so.”

To keep up to date with the crowdfunding campaign visit the Medway Pride Spacehive crowdfunding page.

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