What is your role within Northern Pride and what does that entail?
I am one half (arguably the best half) of the family and youth managers, my role is to ensure that the needs of young people and LGBTQ+ families are met by Northern Pride. This includes delivering an inclusive and safe space within the festival (attempting to meet everyone’s needs) where families and young people can meet others whose lives reflect their own. We work with a range of youth organisations to attempt to understand what the LGBT+ community would like form Northern Pride. We work to provide satellite events and engage with a range of organisations who may not have thought about supporting LGBT+ events, such as the National Trust and Seven stories in order to show that our families and children’s needs are just like everyone else!! We all deserve to be treat with love, respect and dignity!
What’s skills do you bring to the northern pride committee?
I have spent my working life in education, working with children who have additional needs. I have a wealth of understanding about the development of children and their emotional well-being. I understand how children and young people feel when they perceive themselves to be different. I have learned how to support them to embrace being themselves.
I need to be very organised and empathetic in my role and have a strong commitment to equality. We were the first Pride to provide a safe space for young LGBT+ people to meet and socialise in a prom when they were encouraged to be as fabulous as they are!
What’s your secret talent?
I have an amazing ability to keep calm when things don’t go to plan. Essential when working with children and still managing to get the long-term outcome I was after.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
This is a hard one, I really enjoyed going to see Whitney, she didn’t perform at her best, but is there anyone still alive as iconic? She was definitely one on my bucket list.
What do you enjoy the most about working within NP?
I enjoy the feeling of being able to give something valuable back to the LGBT+ community.
Who or what inspires you and why?
Corny answer alert!!!! I am honestly inspired by the people we get to work with. I can not tell you how many times I have thought that working full-time, having 3 kids and all the grown-up stuff as well as having NP commitments, is too much and thought about resigning. Every single time I come close, but then I see young people flourishing at Prom or the Pride festival, or we get an email or a phone call asking for help, reminding me that there is a lot of work still to do.
Given the statistics about LGBT+ youth mental health problems and life outcomes, and in a time where cuts to statutory services affect many marginalised communities I worry that if organisations like NP who are reliant on volunteers, were not available to help and support our community who would? I believe those who can help should help.