PRIDE OF 2008

Blackpool was out and proud the weekend of 17th and 18th May as around 8,000 people arrived in the resort for the third annual Blackpool Pride festival. The town was awash with colour as a 200 strong parade - many dressed as mermaids, stilt walkers and even human penguins – made its way down the Promenade in front of packed crowds at the opening of Blackpool's lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans event on the Saturday lunchtime. The North Pier hosted the two-day festival. Theatres on the pier were packed out for acts such as X-Factor stars Same Difference, Rowetta and Pop Idol Michelle McManus. This event has made staggering leaps forward since the first Blackpool Pride in 2006 and is expected to grow bigger and better each year. Mark Seargent, founder of Blackpool Pride, said: "It has been significantly better than last year. We are about 15 years behind Manchester, but if we can add two or three thousand extra people a year it will grow slowly." Lancashire Constabulary policed the event in an impeccably organised manner and also showed their support by a team of officers from all ranks marching in the parade on the Promenade. The organisers officially thanked Blackpool Council not only for their financial support of the Pride event and support of the LGBT community in general, but also because they feel the council genuinely values the LGBT community.

Blackpool Council Joins Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme
Blackpool Council is delighted to announce that they have joined Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme for employers. Diversity Champions is Britain’s good practice forum for Sexual Orientation issues in the workplace. The council will be working with Stonewall Britain’s leading gay equality organisation, and other members of the programme, to improve their working environment for their lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff. They wish to have a workplace culture which allows their employees to be valued for themselves, and give 100%. By joining Diversity Champions they hope to send a strong signal to their LGB staff, providing reassurance that their contribution will be valued and their sexual orientation respected in a positive working environment. The council also hopes that their customers/service users will see their firm commitment to equality. To find out more about Diversity Champions and Stonewall visit www.stonewall.org.uk/workplace.

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