Medway Pride CIC, MGSD Centre, 331 High Street Rochester Medway ME1 1DA hello@medwaypride.co.uk 07944527037

Medway Council & Medway Pride 2021

Medway residents will come together to celebrate diversity and equality at Medway’s first LGBTQIA+ Pride event on Saturday, 21 August.

Medway Council is supporting Medway Pride, which is being organised in partnership with volunteer group Medway Pride CIC, supported by Countryside, Hyde Housing and the Rochester Riverside Community Fund and other sponsors.

Medway Pride Festival #MPFestival2021 will be a colourful, fun-filled event for all the family to enjoy and will celebrate diversity and support equality for all of Medway’s communities.

The festival is part of an eight-day programme across north Kent which begins with Gravesham Pride on Saturday, 14 August.

Residents of all ages were able to sign up for free tickets to Medway Pride, which will be held at Rochester Riverside Walk in Doust Way from 11am to 8pm on Saturday, 21 August. All tickets have now been booked, however, residents are able to sign up to a waiting list, in case any tickets are returned.

There will be a number of performances, including ABBA Chique, Chai Latte, River Medway, Kelly Wilde and Sami Brooks.

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I am very pleased, and proud, that we are supporting Medway’s very first Pride event which will celebrate our diverse community. We take our role in supporting and protecting Medway’s LGBTQIA+ community very seriously and we work with the community to provide advice, guidance and support. Medway Pride is just one of the festivals in our fantastic family-friendly summer events programme which celebrates Medway’s culture and communities, past, present and future as the area bids to become UK City of Culture 2025. Becoming City of Culture would bring significant benefits to Medway, including more opportunities for young people, and will help showcase all we have to offer.” 

Hilary Cooke, Chair of Medway Pride CIC, said: “We are pleased to advise that free tickets for Medway Pride 2021 were taken up as soon as they were released, with very few left for the day, which includes eight hours of entertainment and opportunities to meet some of the voluntary support groups working in Medway. These include Medway Voluntary Action who support a network of charities and support groups working in Medway, as well as representatives from the support services including the NHS, Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue service. LGBTQIA+ support organisations such as Medway Gender & Sexual Diversity Centre, METRO Charity, Stand Out Group and Porchlight will be on hand to offer advice and support at the event.

“There will also be opportunities to be creative with INTRA Arts and get artistic in our chalk gallery. INTRA Arts is currently hosting an LGBTQIA+ history in Medway display until Friday, 20 August, and there are opportunities to enjoy LGBTQ+ history walks on Thursday, 19 and Friday, 20 August with Rob Flood and to sail on the Edith May Sailing Barge during the Pride event. You need a ticket to enter the event and to find out more, visit medwaypride.co.uk. We look forward celebrating Medway Pride with you.”

Medway Council supports the LGBTQIA+ community in a number of ways. The council’s Youth Service has teamed up with Porchlight to offer young people aged 13 to 18, who are LGBTQIA+, or think they may be, safe spaces to meet new people and share their experiences and feelings. The Be You sessions also offer information, advice and support to Medway’s young people. Sessions are held at Youth Centres across Medway, for more information, and to sign up, email beyou@porchlight.org.uk or visit thebeyouproject.co.uk.

Cllr Josie Iles, Medway Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, added: “I am pleased that we are working with Porchlight to offer LGBTQIA+ young people, and those who may be questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, safe places across Medway where they can meet to socialise, have fun and offer support to one another. I would encourage young people to access the support available. Both Medway Pride, and the Be You sessions, supports our aspiration to become a Child-Friendly City, putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do.”

Medway’s Libraries are also supporting Medway Pride. Rochester Community Hub currently has a range of books on display which explore LGBTQIA+ themes or are written by LGBTQIA+ authors to celebrate Pride. The titles are also being promoted in the library catalogue. To find out more about Medway’s libraries, visit: medway.gov.uk/libraries.  

The council is also proud to have an internal LGBTQI+ workers forum which aims to promote awareness and opportunities for LGBTQI+ employees within the council and promote acceptance and awareness of LGBTQI+ issues. 

The safety of Medway’s residents, visitors and staff is paramount to Medway Council and all of its events adhere to the current government advice. As Medway Pride is an outside event, wearing face coverings is optional, however, visitors are asked to respect those who may wear them and hand sanitising stations will be available.

For more information about Medway Pride visit: medway.gov.uk/medwaypride

To find out how you can book tickets, visit: medwaypride.co.uk

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