Boris Johnson has said he wants a community based organisation to manage London’s annual Pride celebrations under a five-year sponsorship deal.
The event celebrates London’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender communities and in past years has attracted hundreds of thousands of people from across the UK and around the world. However this year’s Pride had to be scaled back after organisers announced a shortfall in funding.
The Mayor has today announced a five-year sponsorship deal worth £500,000 plus free use of Trafalgar Square and assistance from a GLA events officer.
City Hall is inviting “non-profit community based organisations” to submit expressions of interest in running the event for the five years from 2013.
The London Assembly is currently investigating the scaling-back of the 2012 event and the Mayor’s support for it. The Mayor’s contribution included £100,000 of funding and free use of Trafalgar Square, the same level being offered under today’s ‘new’ deal.
City Hall say although the annual funding on offer remains the same, organisers would benefit because “there is a commitment over five years, rather than on an annual basis” as is currently the case.
The Mayor’s office declined to rule out placing a non-LGBT organisation in charge of the event. Asked to confirm whether he was seeking bids solely from within the LGBT community, a spokesperson said: “we wait and see what bids come in and from whom.”
In a statement, Mayor Johnson said: “London’s Pride celebrations are a key event in our city’s cultural calendar. They attract not just Londoners, but people from across the UK and around the world, contributing to a tourism sector that generates billions for our economy and creates thousands of jobs.
“I am proud of London’s reputation as a dynamic world city in which LGBT people can be who they are and it is only right that we should host a high profile celebration to rival other major Pride celebrations around the world.”
London Assembly Member Darren Johnson said the Mayor should await the outcome of the Assembly’s investigation before entering any long-term funding agreements.
The Green Party AM said: “We need to get Pride on a sound footing and avoid the chaos we saw in the runup to this year’s event. However I hope the Mayor waits for the recommendations that arise from the Assembly’s investigation and takes on board the lessons learnt before entering into any long term arrangements.”
Liberal Democrat AM Caroline Pidgeon commented: “Although there is no extra funding a five-year sponsorship deal could be a good idea if it provides some long term security to the organisers.
”What is absolutely clear is that we need to learn lessons from this year’s scaled back event. It is vital that it returns to a celebration event of the size and significance that it has enjoyed in previous years.”