Parents and family groups all over the country had a lot of fun celebrating their pride in their loved ones this year. Here are some highlights!
In July, support group Ricochet took part in Bournemouth’s pride festival, Bourne Free. Members wearing specially designed t-shirts emblazoned with ‘proud parent’ on the front and the group’s contact details on the back carried the rainbow flag at the heart of the procession.
Group leader Colette Hill said: “This was our third year at Bourne Free. People really appreciated us being out and proud parents and we always get a fantastic response from the crowd.”
Bristol Families and Friends
Parents from Bristol Families and Friends attended Bristol Pride once again. This year saw a new venue which enabled it to be an even bigger and better pride.
For the first time they marched proudly through the streets of Bristol with the FFLAG banner and were surprised at the amount of people stood supporting as they all marched along.
As always there was much interest at their stand, mostly from young people who stopped to have a chat.
Parents of Jewish Gays and Lesbians
This year the group marched at Pride in London – something they had never done before but given the recent Orlando shootings, wanted to be there to show support and fly the banner for Parents of Jewish Gays and Lesbians.
Alison’s son David was over from America so they went as a mother and son duo, together holding up high our home-made ‘Parents Care’ placard in support of Keshet UK and the Jewish Gays and Lesbians Group (JGLG). They joined up with the Keshet UK group and had a great time marching and networking with other faith groups.
FFLAG parents Janet and Bruce Kent and Sue and Bob Allen had a stand at Weston-Super-Mare Pride. What a fantastic day it was, very family orientated with lots of children with their parents, siblings and friends having fun.
FFLAG Trustee Bruce Kent was asked to say a few words about FFLAG and was greeted with warm applause. They met many wonderful people – the sun even made an appearance and decided to stay! A great time was had by all.
We had an incredible time representing FFLAG at Cornwall Pride, Pride in London and other events this summer and we can’t wait to do it all again next year.
Ryan and Natalie, the Charity Pot Coordinators, and the whole team enthusiastically set about promoting the Charity Pots and telling people about our work. They set aside an area at the front of the shop where customers could come and shape their own unique “Creamy Candy Bubble Bar”.
All the proceeds went to support the work of FFLAG. It wasn’t just the youngsters who had creative fun either.
Bruce and Janet Kent from FFLAG joined them on the Saturday and were also given (along with frequent cups of tea), a spot where they could talk to customers about our work and give them helpful material. Our huge thanks go out to the whole team for making it a joyful occasion. They did us proud, decking out the shop with FFLAG posters and literature. Ryan even sported a sparkling golden beard for the occasion! What more could we have asked for?
Rear – Janet, Bruce, Ryan | Front – Katie, Louise
Louise, Katie, Ryan and Kirstie from Silihull LUSH
FFLAG was invited to Herbert Smith Freehill (HSF)’s ‘LGBT in the Family’ panel event, part of their recent Global Diversity and Inclusion Week. Trustee Sorrel Atkinson and son Jolyon were asked to be on panel along with Tuvia Borok co-founder of P3:Proud.Professional.Parents and Dario Parente trustee of New Family Social. Jill Chung, co-chair of HSF’s LGBT network chaired the event. This was the first joint event that HSF LGBT and Family Networks had ever hosted.
From left, Dario, Tuvia, Jill, Jolyon and Sorrel
FFLAG is a well-known and respected charity across the UK and yet people are usually surprised when they learn how small an organization we actually are in terms of people and resources. Not many realize that we rely entirely on voluntary contributions to enable us to provide our services to anyone who needs them.
Sometimes the task seems daunting.
So we would like to take this opportunity to heartily thank our friends at the LGBT Consortium for being there for us and so many others as well, because they host the largest network of LGBT groups, projects and organizations in the UK.
Over the years they have been there for us in terms of advice, training, information, linking in with others and yes, sometimes a friendly shoulder to lean on.
The Consortium’s Annual Conference and AGM was held on January 23rd and 24th and Bruce and Janet Kent were able to attend on behalf of FFLAG this year.
Paul Roberts, the LGBT Consortium’s CEO, was recently awarded the OBE in the New Year Honours List for his outstanding services to the sector. He is pictured here (on the left) with Greg Ussher, The Consortium’s President congratulating him during the conference for his work.
Paul has personally been a great friend to FFLAG and has supported us in countless ways over the years. Specifically recently, as FFLAG has begun a major reorganization and review of its activities, Paul has been meeting with the Trustees with encouragement and wise counsel.
The Annual Conference was a weekend of Bitesize Workshops each led by different members of the Consortium themselves who were willing to share some of their experiences and expertise with others. There was advice and information about such topics as getting the best out of social media, helping LGBT+ people living in rural areas, finances, reaching younger people, project management, grassroots campaigning, LGBT and asylum issues and many others including getting the most of what the Consortium has to offer small charities like our own.
Many new contacts and friendships were made and FFLAG is all the stronger for this association.
FFLAG parents Sue Allen, Janet Kent and Bruce Kent attended the launch of Arm in Arm, a regular event set up to tackle the damaging effects of loneliness and social isolation in the over 50s in Devon’s LGBT community.
Ex-soldier James Wharton author of “Out in the Army – My Life as a Gay Soldier” spoke about his life in the army, the homophobia, as well as the 6 weeks he spent serving with Prince Harry, who is a strong straight ally for LGBT rights.
We also met up with Carol who runs Transfigurations, a support group for transgender and or gender variant people, their parents and wider family and their partners. Carol transitioned over 40 years ago, so has great understanding and insight into issues that might be faced.
Although the group is based in Torquay, their confidential telephone helpline is national,
07476 15 17 17. It is open Sunday, Monday and Wednesday (except 1st Wednesday of every month) from 6pm – midnight. For more information visit: www.transfigurations.co.uk
We wish all involved with Arm in Arm every success with their ongoing monthly meetings. We certainly enjoyed an excellent launch event! Thank you for inviting us.
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Registered Charity in the UK
PO Box 495,
0300 688 0368*
*All calls charged at local rate