On Wednesday, April 24th, Blackpool Sixth Form College's LGBTQ+ Group commemorated a significant milestone, the 10th anniversary of their annual "Show Your Pride'' fundraiser. This event, eagerly anticipated each year, is entirely student-designed, organised, and led, embodying the spirit and dedication of the LGBTQ+ community at Blackpool Sixth.

This year's Show Your Pride was raising money for Lancashire LGBT, a charity committed to enhancing the well-being and connectedness of LGBTQ+ individuals across Lancashire, including areas such as Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool. The charity's mission is to support LGBTQ+ people in Lancashire to be happier, healthier, and better connected.

The day was bustling with many opportunities to donate to Lancashire LGBT, each contributing to the festive atmosphere and the fundraiser's goals. The bake sale, featuring an array of delicious treats baked by both staff and students, was a crowd favourite. Alongside the sweet and savoury delights, there was a sale of fidget toys, which have become increasingly popular for their stress-relieving benefits, and added a fun and practical element to the day's festivities.

To showcase the creative flair of the event, students designed and sold unique badges, showcasing their artistic talents and commitment to the cause. The "Name the Bear" competition, organised by the Student Council, invited participants to guess the name of a cuddly mascot and have the chance to win the bear and a £20 Amazon Voucher, well done to Summer Wilson who correctly guessed the name “Bearington”!

Didier Muller, an Outreach Worker from Lancashire LGBT was also in attendance, and he could not stop expressing how impressed and proud he was of the event and the students! His admiration for the group's hard work and dedication was clear, reinforcing the impact of their efforts on the wider community.

The event was further highlighted by heartfelt messages of support from former students, partner organisations, and notable figures such as author Matt Cain. These messages underscored the broad network of support and appreciation that the Blackpool Sixth LGBTQ+ Group has cultivated over the past decade. Also in attendance were key figures from the group's past including an ex-student and Carolyn Mercer, a passionate advocate for equity, education and diversity, who has supported the group since the very first Show Your Pride! 

The atmosphere was electric with dancing, laughter, and an overwhelming sense of community. We also celebrated Kaden Dawson-Shaw’s 18th birthday during the Show Your Pride event! The staff, students and guests who attended Show Your Pride raised an impressive total of £210.44 a testament to the generosity and enthusiasm of everyone involved!

The funds raised will significantly benefit Lancashire LGBT, supporting various unfunded projects such as:

  • Lancashire LGBT’s swimming group: Covering venue hire and swimming coach fees.
  • Trans residentials: Funding venue hire, transport, and speakers.
  • Pop-up community events: Facilitating spontaneous gatherings that foster community spirit.
  • Future projects: Ensuring ongoing support for innovative and essential initiatives.

Staff representatives Taylor, Julie, and Mel want to express their immense pride in the LGBTQ+ Group's achievements. Their remarks highlighted the group's status as superstars, whose hard work and dedication have continually inspired the entire college community.

One thing to highlight is that this was also Julie’s tenth year of supporting the LGBTQ+ Group and the Show Your Pride events, she has been a constant supporter, advocate and friend to every member of the group from its conception. 

As Blackpool Sixth looks forward to the next decade of "Show Your Pride" fundraisers, the enduring legacy of the LGBTQ+ Group's efforts promises continued support and celebration of diversity and inclusion. This year's event not only raised crucial funds but also reinforced the strong sense of unity and pride that defines the Blackpool Sixth community.

The 10th annual "Show Your Pride" was a resounding success, filled with love, support, and an unwavering commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals in Lancashire. 

Here's to many more years of pride and progress!