A COLLEGE aiming to become the most inclusive in Wales has shown its support for one of the UK’s leading celebrations of diversity and the LGBTQ+ community.
Coleg Cambria is sponsoring the Children and Youth Zone at this year’s Chester Pride festival.
The free event – which draws thousands of people to the city and generates more than £2m every year for the local economy – is to be held on Saturday August 19.
Student Voice Engagement Officers Mark-Ryan Hughes and Robert Jones, and Equality and Diversity Coordinator Alice Churm, are delighted to further strengthen their partnership with Chester Pride after the college unveiled a two-year Equality and Diversity action plan focused on improving community links, engaging learners and staff, and campaigning for a more equal and inclusive college for all.
It follows a recent survey of Cambria learners, which showed almost 20% identify as LGBTQ+, and 13.3% identify as trans or non-binary. Around 2.7% of college staff also identify as LGBTQ+.
“We have a strong community of LGBTQ+ staff and learners here at Cambria, and this a great opportunity to show our solidarity with Pride and everything the movement represents,” said Alice.
“Because of this we feel partnering with Chester Pride will be a wonderful celebration for both students and staff, supporting the development and enhancement of Pride and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community here in north east Wales.”
Mark added: “We have made strides in offering support, celebration and a warm, welcoming environment for our LGBTQ+ staff and learners, and this relationship with the event will truly cement our new approach to being even more visible in our equality initiatives.
“Chester Pride is the largest Pride celebration in the communities around Cambria and will create a strong cohesion between our college and the local area’s LGBTQ+ community.”
Taking place in the city centre, Chester Pride includes a colourful parade followed by three stages of entertainment with food and drink vendors and specific areas and activities for families and people of all ages.
More than 40 exhibitors will be in attendance offering information, guidance and advice, and the Just Ask wellbeing tent is there to signpost and refer anyone with concerns or issues to organisations and services such as peer counselling, and befriending.
Chester Pride chair Warren Lee Allmark said: “We are pleased to welcome Coleg Cambria as a sponsor of our 2023 events. Education is a powerful tool for understanding LGBTQ+ issues and the rights we are currently challenging for all parts of our community.
“Cambria has demonstrated that LGBTQ+ issues are at the heart of what they do to make sure that all staff and students are welcomed, accepted and understood.”