Celebrating Diversity & Supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender + community.
About Chester Pride
Learn more of the history of Chester Pride, Committee and what pride means us.
2011 - A piece of research was completed by Cheshire West and Chester Council with LGBT+ residents following the introduction of the Equality Act 2010. The council wanted to understand more about the issues and needs of the community. There were a number of themes in the research, including homophobia, heterosexism and visibility. A group of students from Chester University (along with some none students), also organised an event in 2011, but that had no affiliation with the Chester Pride charity as we are today.
2012 - This piece of work informed a Partnership Equality and Diversity Group that was running at the time. The group expanded its membership to begin to focus on some of the actions that could be put in place from the research in regards to the issue of LGBT+ visibility, and specifically the desire for a Pride event. The group included Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire Fire and Rescue, Cheshire Constabulary, University of Chester, Cheshire and Wirral NHS Partnership Trust, Body Positive, The Countess of Chester Hospital and LGBT Youth North West. In 2012 the group put on two events to begin to engage with the LGBT+ community – Love Music, Hate Homophobia (which featured music and exhibitor stands) and a Walk of Light for World AIDS Day.
2013 - The group organised its first Chester Pride, which took place in the October in Town Hall Square. This was attended by approx. 2,500 people and featured a stage, exhibitor stands in the Town Hall (Health, Life and Well being Zone) and a few pop up market stalls. Leading up to the event the group was expanded again and two representatives from local LGBT nightlife joined the group.
2014 - Now that Pride had gained some momentum, Chester Pride moved away from being primarily public sector organisation run and was set up as a charity run by volunteers, led by Helen Pickin-Jones and David Redpath-Smith (both were on the previous group but continued as volunteers). Due to higher numbers than expected attending in 2013, we needed to find a new location, so Chester Pride was held in Grosvenor Park. Due to public demand, we decided to add a Chester Pride parade through the city centre which was really well received. We also added a Youth Zone, a second stage for cabaret, and a viewing area for those with a mobility impairment. Approx. 5,500 people attended.
2015 - The decision was made to move Chester Pride to a hard surface due to possibilities of cancelling the event in torrential rain, so the event took place at Castle Square Chester where it has remained. A third stage was added for local bands called the Original Music Stage and a Childrens’ Zone and funfair. The Health, Life and Wellbeing Zone was doubled in size providing space for around 60-70 exhibitors. Approximately 8,000 people attended..
2016 - The second Chester Pride event in Castle Square. The area for those with a mobility platform was turned into a raised platform and a VIP area was introduced. The Chester Pride exhibition ‘Pride in the Past’ was also displayed. 6,000 people attended due to heavy rain..
2017 - Celebrating 5 years of Chester Pride. An Older Peoples’ space was introduced, an ‘Alcohol Free Chill Out Space’ featuring non-amplified music that was autism friendly, and a baby and feeding tent were also added. The event was moved to August and approximately 10,000 people attended.
2018 - Firmly set in our new home of Castle Square, Chester Pride saw it’s highest attendance figures of around 15,000 throughout the day. Our parade increased in size and more focus was made on our plastic consumption, which we are working towards reducing even further in 2019/2020.
2019 - Lots of changes have happened within the committee, with our previous Chair Helen Pickin-Jones and directors Jenna Pickin-Jones and Sam Platt (also Vice Chair) all deciding to step down after their own successful terms at Chester Pride. Warren Lee-Allmark took over as Chair for 2019 and plans are already being put in to practice to continue to grow Chester Pride and adapt, whilst not forgetting it’s history.
CHESTER PRIDE TEAM
WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA CO-ORDINATOR,
"Being at Pride for the first time was a new chapter,opening new friend circles, great opportunities but also getting to know and understand what it's like to be part of something new and exciting. It's great to see the LGBT+ community come together and celebrate what has been achieved above and beyond. LGBT+ is growing and always will continue to inspire and amaze others. It will definitely not be my last Pride event."
CHAIRMAN & STAGE CO-ORDINATOR
"Chester Pride holds a special place in my heart, as a member of the Chester Pride group since 2013, I have watched us develop into a fantastic event that welcomes everyone.We have made great and positive changes to the city’s attitude toward our LGBT+ community. We are able to stand with other pride events around the world to show solidarity towards anti LGBT+ rights"
“Chester Pride and our community is a family that I am privileged and proud to be a part of. To me Pride is still a necessity, Pride is also about positive LGBT+ visibility.I feel lucky that in this country we have come such a long way to achieving equality, but there is still so much more to be done. Whilst there is still inequality, prejudice and fear in the world, we will continue to advocate and spread a positive message for the world to see.Pride will be around until every person in every part of the world is able to be themselves and love who they love.Everyone should be able to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love without feeling fear or shame.”
VICE CHAIR, TREASURER & OUTREACH CO-ORDINATOR,
“For me Pride is all both about celebration and activism. I love that Chester Pride is a safe space where we can celebrate the unique identities that make up the LGBT+ community. But also we can use it as a platform to campaign and raise awareness of the issues and lack of equality that the community still faces.The atmosphere, sense of community, and fun that you get at a Pride event makes you realise that we are all one big inclusive family.”
VICE CHAIR & HEALTH, LIFE & WELLBEING CO-ORDINATOR
“I am a gay man, I am a Nurse, I am a brother, I am a son, I am a friend, I am in fact many things, and to me Pride has allowed me to become a true version of myself and celebrate all the aspects of me -being Gay is just one of them.Pride is all about being able to come together within our community and celebrate LOVE, all that you stand for and believe in, and never to be ashamed of who you are. I feel it is important it remember why we have Pride,and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that started that the LGBT+ movement. Change is still happening and the work is not yet complete.This city became my home 5 years ago and I feel so honoured being part of Chester Pride. This is my 4th year with the team and I hope to continue making the event a safe, respectful and amazing one for a the Chester LGBT+ community that I am part of for many more years.”
“I believe that Pride provides us with an opportunity to be our true authentic selves without fear of judgement and to show support for our incredibly diverse LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Whilst Pride is an opportunity to come together and celebrate, we mustn’t forget to recognise the efforts of so many to push forward the LGBTQ+ rights movement over the past few decades. We have come on a long way since then but our work isn’t over yet.Our committee have worked tirelessly to help make Chester Pride an event to remember and we can’t wait to see Chester show its support for equality, diversity and inclusion in August!”
DIRECTOR & DESIGN CO-ORDINATOR,
“I love being involved in Chester Pride. I see all pride events as a celebration, a chance for everyone to get together and feel proud to be themselves in a safe, fun, environment.We can use pride as a platform to spread a positive message and provide information for the whole community, and that’s important to me. If we can help even just one person, then it’s all worthwhile...but the brilliant atmosphere on the day is always the best part of the whole event!”
SECRETARY & MERCHANDISE CO-ORDINATOR,
“I’m glad to be a part of Chester Pride. Putting on an event where people can come together andcelebrate is an amazing feeling.It’s something that wasn’t there when I came out. Working all year around with people that pull togetherwith dedication and hard work has been an eye opener and very personally satisfying.Apart from the party and the parade, we work with so many organisations that offer help and support tothe LGBT+ community.”
EQUALITY & DIVERSITY CO-ORDINATOR,
“Pride for me is about visibility. It’s about celebrating and embracing our differences.It’s about standing up for and being a voice for those who still cannot. Love is Love”
DIRECTOR & FUNDRAISING CO-ORDINATOR
“Pride to me means accepting who you are and being proud of all you stand for. Regardless of what you believe or think, nobody should be able to make you feel ashamed of who you are or what you stand for. To me pride is saying to the world, “This is who I am and I’m proud of it.” Prides around the world are a great way to bring awareness to the LGBT+ community because yes, although we have come a long way, from the Stonewall Riots to the legalised marriages there is still a long way to go. As a Gay man I strongly believe in the values that prides have and what they portrait and I am especially Proud to be a part of CHESTER PRIDE.”
MARKETPLACE, FOOD & BEVERAGE CO-ORDINATOR,
“To be “Different.” Every single one of us is different. Some of our differences are more obvious than others.Being part of Chester Pride, I’m able to embrace my differences and celebrate the things that make me who I am. I’m truly proud to be a part of a amazing Charity that allows me to be me and you to be you.But it’s not always easy holding your head up and being yourself. Sometimes you need some support.In life I’ve learned that words can be just as painful as fists. Should I tone myself down, try and be somebody else to conform and fit in?No way! Pride to me is a celebration of diversity, it’s making a statement that it is aware of individual and the struggles we all have. It’s about nurturing an inclusiveness that isn’t there just for one day, but here for good. Pride stretches out tothe surrounding community. It says it’s okay to be yourself. It’s OK to me. It’s OK to be different. I’m proud to be different.You should be proud too.Embrace and celebrate your differences. They’re the things that make you unique. They’re the things that make you you.”