For this year’s Pride of Place, we continued to show our support to the LGBTQ+ community with a virtual flag photo and donated £1000 to local charity, Angels of Freedom
Due to the restrictions on social distancing, we decided to take our flag photo online! Everyone was welcome to join our Zoom session and dress in a brightly coloured top, in one of the Pride flag colours. Thanks to those who took the time to take part and show their support!
We later shared the photo across our social channels and asked the public to comment on which local LGBTQ+ charity they would like us to donate to. The response overwhelmingly favoured Angels of Freedom, a local group providing visible supportive presence within the Leeds LGBTQ+ bar scene area, focusing on community safety, personal support and the promotion of social and support groups. Their volunteers are trained in Mental Health First Aid and provide compassionate support and advice.
Angels of Freedom also run a programme of supportive activities and events, including monthly LGBTQ+ cafe drop-ins which provide a social space for 30+ attendees. They also work alongside Leeds First Friday, the largest regular Trans social event in the North, focusing on personal safety, crime reduction and challenging Hate Crime, in participation with West Yorkshire Police & British Transport Police.
In February 2019 they launched the Leeds Freedom Families project, working directly with parents/guardians of LGBTQ+ children (of any age) to support and network with peers, along with learning how to be champions for our community.
On receiving our £1000 donation, coordinator for Angels of Freedom Rob Wilson commented:
‘Over the coming months and into the New Year we’re looking at relaunching a number of our compassionate support projects in the community, in particular the street engagement, Freedom Families peer group and our social networking events to bring the community together away from the usual bar scene.
We usually receive community funding support from some city councillors to cover some expenses, however, with their (understandable) wider focus on reducing the impact in communities from Covid-19 this hasn’t been available this year. This is why receiving this support from Wellington Place has been so important to us as it will go a long way in covering costs of relaunching our activities, including buying physical resources for engagement, facility hires and advertising expenses to let people know we’re active again and how to get involved.
After having our activities suspended for so long, and the increased isolation seen by many within our communities it’s so important for us to be able to reach out and let people know who we are and what opportunities we can provide for meeting other LGBT+ people through our social events away from the bar scene’.