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Issue:- 24 November  2011


THE organisers have announced that the main festival site will remain at the Pier Head and is due to return on Saturday, 4 August 2012. However, a presence will definitely be maintained in the Gay Quarter, thanks to a close working partnership between Liverpool Pride and the Liverpool Gay Business Association, the collective that organised Stanley Street Pride in 2011.  Liverpool Pride is one of the biggest FREE LGBT Pride festivals in the country, with over 40,000 people attending the event in 2011, double the 2010 figure of 20,000. A study completed by Liverpool Pride showed that 2011’s festival generated a total spend of over £2.6 million for the local economy as people spent money on hotels, travel, clothes, food and drink. The study also showed that a large number of Pride Goers booked their trips to Liverpool Pride more than two months in advance. Faced with Liverpool City Council’s proposal to cut all funding to festivals, organisers have taken the decision to start fundraising for the festival much earlier than ever before and have devised an all year round fundraising campaign will begin from 2012 onwards. The Liverpool Pride Board of Trustees is adamant that it will continue its core work of combating homophobia and transphobia in the city, whilst maintaining a free festival to ensure that everyone feels welcome.

The fundraising campaign will launch with the Camp as Christmas event, produced by Hope Street based Orb Events who have previously worked with Liverpool Pride on their 2010 & 2011 festivals. The event, which promises to be Liverpool’s ultimate LGBT Christmas night out, will take place at newly opened venue The Dome, Renshaw Street, on Saturday 17 December, starring X-Factor duo Diva Fever, actor, writer and comedian Rikki Beadle Blair and a whole host of local talent including Caz & Brit, Barbieshop, Emma Dears and Liverpool’s finest drag queens.

There are also Liverpool Pride runners in the city’s Santa Dash and a series of smaller fundraising events, to be held throughout 2012. Liverpool Pride will also bid for funds through applications to trusts and large public sector organisations as well as through corporate sponsorship from the private sector on both a local and national level.  To date, Liverpool Pride has already received funding from Merseyside Police Authority for its 2012 soccer project and from the Big Lottery Fund. The money from which has been used to recruit a Volunteer Manager as well as funding the Liverpool Pride 365 Cultural Visions project, which will work with LGBT people to produce art, photography and theatre, celebrating gay culture in Liverpool.

As part of the Liverpool Pride 2012 fundraising campaign, the organisation is also asking local businesses and individuals to run fundraising events such as bring and buy sales, cake bake offs and sponsored drag days, walks, runs and any other ways in which they would like to raise money. Businesses and individuals who are interested in supporting Liverpool Pride 2012 in any way are invited to contact James Davies, Liverpool Pride Trustee on:- 0151 709 5069.  More information on the Camp as Christmas event can be found at:-

James Davies of Liverpool Pride said:- "We’re delighted to be able to announce Liverpool Pride 2012 and can’t wait to start on the road to creating something that is truly special once more. Although we face some funding cuts due to wider cuts in public spending, we’re determined to make Liverpool Pride 2012 even bigger and better than ever before and can only do that with the help of Liverpool, as a council, as a community and as a business collective. We’re grateful to the City Council and to the likes of the European Regional Development Fund as well as our sponsors for all of their support thus far and hope that, despite budget cuts, we can continue to work with them in the coming years. We believe that this festival is one hundred percent worthwhile and that it is truly helpful for raising awareness of LGBT issues, specifically reducing homophobia in the city in addition to being good value for money for funders as the festival brings a relatively large amount of money into the city’s economy over the course of the Pride weekend. We made the festival into a massive success in 2011 even though we faced a 60% cut in our funding from the City Council and we’re determined to do it again even if further cuts should occur. We will continue the work of Liverpool Pride and have set out on a mammoth fundraising campaign to ensure that the 2012 festival is free, safe and enjoyable for everyone and we would ask you to support the forthcoming fundraising events such as the wonderful Camp as Christmas show produced by Orb Events as well as getting involved on an individual and a corporate level to join with us and ensure that Liverpool Pride 2012 is an event that is worthy of Liverpool’s gay community."

Ministers re-open £60m fund to boost business skills & growth

THE second phase of the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF) has been launched by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Minister for Skills John Hayes. The fund will support businesses to develop their skills solutions tailored to their own needs, transforming growth in their sector, region or supply chain.

BIS will be providing £34 million for 2012 to 2013 and there is still £29 million available to bid for. With matched funding from businesses there will be around £60 million available under GIF this year. Comparable levels of investment are planned for the following 2 years.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:- "The Government understands we need to tackle the skills shortages that are holding companies back. Through this fund, we will support employers that take collective action to overcome these barriers, helping to rebalance and grow our economy. By putting the employer’s voice at the heart of the process, we will reward inventive approaches to training that deliver real help to get business moving."

Attending a reception to launch the GIF funded Hospitality Guild, John Hayes announced that this year the Government would be accepting applications throughout the year, ensuring projects could be approved at several points in 2012, rather than having one annual round.

Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes said:- "I know times are tough for many businesses, but I am determined to do all I can to build a skills system that creates opportunity for young people, and puts firms on course for growth. Government investment in skills works best for individuals and communities when it responds directly to employers’ needs. Offering a more continuous process will ensure that public money will be able to fund more projects throughout the year, giving business the power to shape training and directly support jobs and growth. The Hospitality Guild is a great example of how the Growth and Innovation Fund can help unify businesses and professional training bodies to raise skills in the sector, and support staff development within both large and smaller players in this industry."

The Growth and Innovation Fund offers targeted help for employer groups to overcome barriers to growth within their sectors and industries. The funding is already supporting 15 projects across the country deliver new training to boost innovation and productivity, enable industries to set new professional standards, or support new or extended National Skills Academies.

Earlier this year in collaboration with 9 other founding members of the Hospitality Guild, People 1st successfully put forward a bid for GIF funding.

Martin-Christian Kent, Hospitality Guild Director, said:- "Through the Hospitality Guild, the hospitality industry has a real opportunity to shout about the career opportunities it offers, to demonstrate its passion for skills and its ambition to raise its productivity and professionalism. With 1 in 14 people working in the hospitality industry, an area that has been growing despite the economic downturn, the Hospitality Guild will also have a role to play in tackling unemployment through facilitating strong ‘into work’ programmes, apprenticeships and work placements."

Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency said:- "We look forward to working with employers and their representative organisations to find innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle skills gaps in their sectors. The Growth and Innovation Fund will secure a greater commitment from employers to invest in the skills they need, so creating jobs and Apprenticeships, driving enterprise and increasing their overall productivity in support of the growth agenda."

Following that first round several improvements have been made to GIF to make it more accessible to potential applicants. GIF will now open for business all year round, meaning proposals can be submitted whenever they arise and are ready to be considered for investment.

Where proposals are identified as meriting GIF co-investment the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) will be available to work alongside the applicant to ensure the projects have the very best chance of fulfilling their promise to make a significant impact on enterprise, jobs and growth.

To make sure that the investment fund can support businesses in the different ways they work together to secure growth, including in a particular geographical area, we have extended eligibility to apply to local enterprise partnerships, alongside the wide range of sector and employer bodies already in scope.

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