Safety is 'number one priority' as LGBTQ+ village plans set for launch

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Two launch events are planned for the initiative

A vision to create a new town centre quarter celebrating Blackpool’s LGBTQ+ community will be officially launched this month after the proposals were widely welcomed.

Events are being held at Central Library at 1pm and The Flying Handbag at 7.30pm on Thursday, February 8 as part of the plans for the ‘Be Who You Want To Be’ neighbourhood.

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LGBTQ+ village plans to be launchedLGBTQ+ village plans to be launched
LGBTQ+ village plans to be launched | National World

Council leader Lynn Williams and businessman Basil Newby are due to attend the Central Library launch where musical entertainment will be provided by Westminster Academy and Park Academy.Mayor Gillian Campbell will be among guests at the Flying Handbag where the line-up includes Johnny Wright and Electric Pink Voices.

Tim Allan, chair of the North Shore Business Group which is supporting the initiative, told a meeting of the full council the scheme was much needed.

He said: “There is a large LGBTQ+ community out there, some are struggling with housing, they struggle with themselves and identity, they struggle with some homophobia in town, and we have to make this get better. But we have a very good start because we have the initiative and a very good consultation that has gone out with 269 people who have responded and who have made clear what their priorities are.

“Number one is that they want to feel safe in this town. And there are people out there who don’t. There are young people who don’t feel safe in Claremont and that is the one thing we have to drive through with this action plan.”

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He said addressing gaps in public health provision also needed to be a priority, along with developing the arts and culture of the LGBTQ+ community. He added: “We need to make sure the community is recognised in Blackpool, and that means that they feel proud to be part of Blackpool.” Mr Allen said this included visible signs of investment in the Claremont area, although he acknowledged regeneration was already happening.

The vision, which aims to build on the existing concentration of gay-friendly bars, venues and guest houses in streets in the north of the town centre including parts of Queen Street and Dickson Road, was first unveiled last August.

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