The Latest From LCR Pride Foundation

As we continue to chat with organisations right across the city region about their current situation, this week we talk to Andi Herring, Interim CEO at LCR Pride Foundation. 

We asked Andi to answer some questions for us, so grab a cuppa, and have a read!

What is the LCR Pride Foundation? 🤔

The LCR Pride Foundation is a charity that was established in 2019 with the aim of making the Liverpool City Region (LCR) the most LGBT+ friendly region in the UK. It was created with the vision to take ‘Pride’ beyond the annual festival and also across all six of our region’s boroughs.

We champion the rights of LGBT+ people living in and visiting the region and highlight the daily barriers they face. We also seek to create an inclusive culture for all to enjoy and participate in. Our flagship event is Pride in Liverpool, which is preceded by the annual March with Pride. However, we also create, manage and support a diverse programme of events, initiatives and campaigns, like Film with Pride and the LCR Pride Awards.

What is your role at LCR Pride Foundation? 🏳️‍🌈

I’m proud to be one of the founding board members of LCR Pride Foundation in 2019 and be part of the many months of hard work to get there before that. I was recently very honoured to be invited by the board to become the organisation’s Interim CEO, which means I am now responsible for driving the strategic goals of the LCR Pride Foundation, managing overall operations and leading on key events and campaigns delivered by the organisation.

In the current climate, it means I am also responsible for delivering our response to COVID-19 and finding ways to keep our community connected in the face of a global pandemic.

I don’t do this all alone of course! I work closely with our Board of Directors, our incredible volunteers, working groups, partners and suppliers who all help to make the foundation’s plans a reality. It’s a fantastic team effort!

Can you tell us how COVID-19 has impacted your organisation? 👇

Many of the events and initiatives that we manage and support are live, physical events that cannot be recreated online and so obviously have been cancelled or postponed. On top of that, many of the businesses and organisations that provide funding and sponsorship for our campaigns, events and initiatives, are also dealing with the crisis which obviously has a financial impact on the foundation.

It was a huge and difficult decision to postpone Pride In Liverpool and the annual march, as we know how important it is to so many people but the decision was led by our commitment to protect the health and wellbeing of all of our communities, both now and at our annual festival, which attracts 50,000 people to the city each year.

More concerning for us, however, is the impact of the crisis on the wellbeing of the region’s LGBT+ community. So many of the events, venues, health services and safe spaces that LGBT+ people access are now not available to them. Loneliness, isolation and being in lockdown with families that are not accepting of their identity is having a huge impact on LGBT+ mental health in the region, as well as across the UK.

How have you adapted to the situation? 🙌

Like everyone, we have had to be reactive and learn as we go. We are staying in touch with partners and volunteers via video conferencing facilities and we have taken our Film with Pride programme online and curated a whole new programme of short films, which are being screened via Facebook each Friday.

We are also working with partners and other organisations based in the Liverpool City Region to curate and create engaging content and events to deliver via our online channels. These events will cover everything from sport to health and music to activism and we will be announcing them weekly in our ‘Get Up and Glow newsletter.

Are there any words of advice you’d offer colleagues within the visitor economy in LCR? ⭐️

I know things are really tough right now and it can feel like the future for the visitor economy in the Liverpool City Region is bleak, but we will bounce back. I recently heard Culture Liverpool’s Claire McColgan talking about 2008 (European Capital Of Culture) and how that seemed a dream to achieve at the time, how the city pulled together and created what today is history and how she believes we’ll do it again – and I wholeheartedly agree.

Collaboration and supporting one another will be key to this. Make sure you have checked for any grants or funding available.

Keep in touch with your networks, such as Marketing Liverpool, Liverpool, Halton or Birkenhead BIDs and your local Chamber of Commerce to stay informed, share knowledge and even resources. It might also be worth venturing outside of your sector networks to see how businesses in other sectors are responding to the crisis – it may bring fresh ideas.

Above all, stay focused on your key objectives and founding principles. If you are still operating, do what you can and do it well, don’t overstretch yourself. Make sure that any plans you implement delivers on the things that are most important to your organisation or business – that’s what we’re trying to do.

What are LCR Pride Foundation’s plans for 2020 and beyond 👀

This week, we launched our 2020/21 theme ‘Young at Heart’ alongside a series of online events and initiatives to keep the Liverpool City Region’s LGBT+ community and its allies connected during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The theme aims to highlight the benefits of self care, being active and doing the things we love, on our physical and mental wellbeing. It also strives to provide a platform to celebrate LGBT+ individuals working in the sport, health and wellbeing sectors and shine a spotlight on organisations and services working hard to facilitate good physical and mental health in the region’s LGBT+ community.

The programme will cover a range of themes, from inclusive sport and mental health, to activism and LGBT+ youth support. Events will range from virtual interviews with LGBT+ champions and allies working to improve the wellbeing of the community, digital panel discussions and Q&A sessions, to film and music events.

We are also looking to advance our long-term plans for a series of community grants, which organisations supporting the LGBT+ in the city region will be able to apply for, more on this will follow soon.

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