The borough of Rochdale is gearing up for its first ever celebration of Pride.
Rochdale in Rainbows presents Pride will take place between Saturday, 16 November - Saturday, 30 November 2019.
During the fortnight there's a number of events taking place across the borough including performances, social events and the borough's first LGBT+ conference for people working in health and social care.
Touchstones Rochdale museum and art gallery in Rochdale town centre is hosting events throughout Pride and is looking at how they can diversify their work. On Wednesday, 20 November 2019 LGBT+ History: Past and Future will hear from speakers about how the borough's LGBT+ history can be explored and documented, with people invited to share their own memories.
On Thursday, 21 November 2019 an adults' social night will be held with all LGBT+ residents over 18 encouraged to join in for a night of entertainment.
Pride will be bookended by shows on the stage. Fresh from its critically acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe run, First Time, a hilarious and heartbreaking autobiographical show about staying positive in a negative world by award-winning HIV+ theatre maker Nathaniel Hall and Dibby Theatre, will be staged on Saturday, 16 November 2019 at Touchstones Rochdale. Big Guys Don't Cry, a party concert paying tribute to legendary acts, will bring Pride to an end on Saturday, 30 November 2019 at Heywood Civic Centre.
For the borough's young people The Proud Trust is hosting a Youth Pride, a celebration event is being held at Hopwood Hall College and Rochdale Youth Service are holding a number of special events.
Reverend Mark Coleman is hosting an Open Table at St Clement's Church, an all-inclusive, non-traditional church service which welcomes all LGBT+ people.
Throughout the fortnight there'll be awareness raising of LGBT+ services, with the opportunity to drop into Number One Riverside on Monday, 18 November 2019 to talk to people who provide services across the borough. Awareness raising will also take place around topics including fostering and adoption, services for veterans, hate crime reporting and schemes like Pride in Practice, run by the LGBT Foundation.
Rochdale's LGBT+ steering group, Rochdale in Rainbows, was established in November 2018 with the aim of coordinating existing activity and planning new events with LGBT+ people. The group is made up of organisations from across the borough including Hopwood Hall College, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), and Link4Life.
Carl Austin-Behan, LGBT advisor to the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and steering group member, said: "It has been brilliant to see Rochdale in Rainbows evolve over the past year. There are so many enthusiastic people committed to celebrating and supporting the LGBT+ community. I can't wait for it to start – there's so much going on."
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said: "We're really pleased that so many residents and organisations have contributed to Pride, it has been the definition of a team effort!!
"There's lots to see and do and I really encourage people to get involved, go to an event or take the opportunity to learn something new."
A number of social events in Middleton are being planned and will be added to the website soon.