Community groups across Brighton and Hove are reaping the rewards as the first ever awards from the Brighton Pride Social Impact Fund are announced.

A dance school for vulnerable women, a sports club for older people and children playing in one of the city’s biggest parks were among those to benefit from the first grant award.

St James St Action group which is made up of residents and businesses in the area, has received £650 towards installing new trees and a planter in the area.

A further £1,000 has been allocated towards a project for security lighting to make Dorset Gardens, a public park in the heart of the St James’s Street area, safer for all.

Jeremy Ogden, chairman of the St James’s Street Community Action Group, said: “The St James Street LAT is delighted to receive some funds from the Social Impact Fund which we can use toward making the area a better place for all. Many of the local people are affected by Pride and it is welcomed that some of the funds raised are going back into the impacted areas and for the benefit of residents.”

Brighton education charity Little Green Pig was awarded £500 towards a project which sees children aged between nine and 11 make a film on the experiences of life on the streets for homeless people.
Julie Watson, co-director, Little Green Pig said: “We are delighted! Thanks to the fund we’ll be able to make a film to capture the project our young writers are working on with Brighton Housing Trust for the Fringe Festival.”

Another group to benefit was the boccia group at The Manor in East Brighton. This allows people aged over 50 in one of the poorest areas of the city to come together socially and play an inclusive sport.
Jaqui Somers, who runs the group, said: “All of our members pay a flat fee of £2 per session and this covers an hour of boccia followed by lunch. Although the class is run by volunteers from The Manor we still have to pay for hall hire. Without funding the whole £2 would have to pay for the hall and we wouldn’t be able to provide the lunch which is a massive part of the session – a chance to sit and relax and catch up which I believe is vital to a lot of our group. This generosity means we can keep our fee at this amount knowing the hall hire is covered for longer so thanks again.”

The grants were awarded by a panel made up of representatives from local media groups, including The Argus, Latest 7, Latest TV, Gscene, and Brighton and Hove Independent
The aim of the fund was to support these groups or organisations which need a little helping hand in making a difference in their community.
They did not have to be LGBT related; they did not even have to be directly-linked to Pride – although applicants directly impacted will be favored.
The impact just had to be positive.

Paul Kemp, director of Brighton Pride, said:
2015 was our best ever year for community fundraising and by setting up the Brighton Pride Social Impact Fund we were hoping to have a greater beneficial effect on the wider community. The amount we were able to give back to local groups through the Social Impact Fund exceeded even our own expectations for its first year, especially given the financial challenges facing public and private sector organisations, and we are hoping to build on this in the coming years so even more worthy causes and local people benefit.”