IC24 colleagues brave the weather to stand together in unity at Brighton Pride 2023
by David Llong
The amazing people of IC24 came together to celebrate diversity and love at Brighton Pride.
This is the second time colleagues have walked in unison washed in a rainbow of colours as over 300,000 people lined the streets. Brighton and Hove Pride is known across the country and has people from all over the world attend. The trip was organised by our LGBTQ+Friends Colleague Resource Group (CRG) which was setup alongside our other CRGs to create a supportive and safe working environment for all by promoting allyship in the workplace.
There was an amazing turnout of support from IC24 and nobody let the weather disrupt them from having a wonderful time on the south coast. The day allowed for colleagues who might never have met in person to come together in solidarity and form newfound bonds that will undoubtably live long in their memory.
Hear from a couple of people who attended the event, starting with Sarah Hills a Clinical Advisor at IC24:
“I missed out on Brighton pride in 2022 as I was studying so I made sure that this year I would be there, by informing my line manager last September! I'd not been to Brighton pride in 17 years, so I was excited to see how it had changed. I must admit getting up at 4 am to get the bus was hard going! (And as everyone who knows me would expect I was there by the skin of my teeth!) Brighton looked overcast as we arrived, and I thought it 'well it could be worse'... couldn't it just! The excitement grew as we started meeting colleagues in real life from the CRG group, the NSA, and the contact centres, it was brilliant to put faces to avatars! I'd worked with some of these colleagues for 3 years and never met, but we shared face paints, stickers, and sequinned eye lashes. The weather was turning, the wind and rain started and soon we were covered in sea foam (I'll admit this was not the type of foam I was expecting from Pride!) Once the rainbows were suitably applied, the IC24 car lights on, and music blasting we were off! Despite the gale force winds the crowds were out in force as we wound our way through the city centre. So much colour, noise, and diversity! Having not been to pride in a while the sheer size of it now was almost overwhelming but the number of families there was a real surprise, as was the open support from some of the churches on route and it was heart-warming to see how far things have come. With the progress made in LGBTQIA+ equality in the last 20 years, and the move towards a more party atmosphere in pride, it was good to see the core theme of protest was still at the very heart of the parade and I felt real warmth and support from the crowd supporting the ongoing fight for equality. It’s taken a while to get my hearing back and my trainers to finally dry, but I've not stopped smiling all week, and if the opportunity arises again, I really recommend any IC24 colleagues to take the opportunity to partake in pride.”
Read Amy-Marie Brunnings one of our Health Advisors experience:
“My first time at Brighton Pride was such an amazing experience. Despite the weather being miserable, the morale of everyone was quite the opposite. We spent the journey up listening to some absolute bangers, singing our hearts out to 80's/90's music - chosen by the best coach driver ever - Sue. Whilst we were stopped at the services to Brighton, Sue explained she was using Spotify and offered us to pick a playlist. We attached our face gems (colour co-ordinated with our outfits of course) and various pride related tattoo's - we were ready to go!
As we reached Brighton, the heavens opened. All I can say is thank goodness for waterproof jackets and rain ponchos. Trying to put a poncho on in strong winds is certainly an experience. We were given flags, whistles and funky IC24 t-shirts, even our car was in rainbow colours. The sky may have been dull, but IC24 and the parade as a whole certainly made up for it.
We were surrounded by colour, amazing outfits and people simply being themselves. Everywhere you looked, throughout the whole day, people were smiling. Not even the weather could get in the way of that.
Being part of the parade is something I will never forget. People were cheering, clapping and there was even an occasional horn! Every aspect of Pride was wholesome, we got to cheer people on for being themselves whilst they cheered us on for the work we do and the inclusion we bring. How can you not be happy in a situation like that? It’s impossible!
I have never seen so many people dance in unison. It was like being part of a real life musical, but the best one on Broadway!
After looping around Brighton and waving to everyone amongst the crowd and those sat on roof tops, we reached the end point of the parade.
Overall, it was a day to remember and one I feel very lucky to have been a part of. There wasn't a moment throughout the day where I didn't feel proud to be part of IC24.”