New charity ball and awards ceremony will celebrate LGBTQIA+ progress

A NEW major fundraising event celebrating the progress of LGBTQIA+ communities and a charity’s own remarkable development has been launched.

Pride Action North (PAN) is hosting the inaugural Progression Ball and Awards ceremony on February 2, 2024 to mark the beginning of LGBT+ History Month in recognition of the work being carried out by organisations and individuals to make the North East a more inclusive, diverse and accepting place for all.

The event, to be held at the Grand Hotel Gosforth Park, will include a night of entertainment, a three course meal, an exhibition of Gilbert Baker Foundation’s and ReportOUT’s Flag in the Map Project, an auction, raffle and games, and inspirational stories from a range of LGBTQIA+ people.

Members of Pride Action North are joined by staff at Newcastle Building Society to launch the inaugural Progression Ball and Awards.

In addition, there will be an awards ceremony rewarding the efforts of people across the region in promoting and supporting local communities.

The evening will also be a celebration of the transformation PAN has undergone as a charity too. Earlier this year, the organisation was rebranded from Northumberland Pride to encapsulate the wide range of support services it now provides across the whole of the North East.

To add to the fun, attendees are asked to come dressed in one – or all – of the colours of the Progression flag – the more colourful, the better.

Darren Irvine-Duffy, the charity’s chair, said: “All associated with Pride Action North are extremely excited to be able to launch the inaugural Progression Ball and Awards to celebrate the amazing achievements of LGBTQIA+ people and entire communities.

“PAN itself has been on an incredible journey and 2023 has been a milestone year which resulted in a major rebrand and new website being created, and the organisation goes from strength to strength by being able to offer a wider range of support and advocacy to more people across a larger geographical area.

“The fact that we are able to stage something as major as the Progression Ball shows just how far we have come as a charity, and we’re going all out to make sure the event is something which forever stays in the memory of all involved.

“This is the perfect opportunity to further unite LGBTQIA+ communities and, to use PAN’s motto, show that ‘together we are stronger’.”

Nominations are now open for the awards in the following categories:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Business Award, sponsored by Newcastle Building Society
  • Third Sector Award, sponsored by Ability Consultants
  • Ally Award, sponsored by Square One Law
  • Youth Achievement Award, sponsored by NE Youth

Darren said: “We know first hand of the amazing work which is carried out to support LGBTQIA+ communities across the North East and we look forward to sharing these inspirational tales to a wider audience, and showing a shared appreciation to the people going above and beyond to make sure people feel accepted for exactly who they are.”

The Progression Ball and Awards, to be held on Friday, February 2, is sponsored by Newcastle Building Society, and Ability Consultants, with further sponsorship from Square One Law, NE Youth, Margaret Rose Events, Fluid Bookkeeping, 32West, ReportOUT and Silk Route Spirits.

Chris Keay, Chief Risk Officer and Executive Sponsor of the LGBTQ+ Network at Newcastle Building Society, said: “At Newcastle Building Society supporting inclusivity isn’t just a ‘nice to do’: working proactively to tackle barriers in the workplace is core to how we operate, especially when it comes to attracting the next generation of talent.

“We’re committed to being an inclusive organisation, both as a place to work through our colleague-led inclusive networks, and in our approach to local communities through involvement in this year’s Northern Pride March and support of Newcastle Frontrunners LGBT 5K Race. That’s why it’s a pleasure to help Pride Action North deliver its first awards ceremony, celebrating the achievements of some of the region’s most inspirational LGBTQ+ people.”

Julie Clark, from Ability Consultants, said: “At Ability Consultants, we firmly believe in the power of diversity and inclusion. We are excited to align ourselves with an event that shares our values and works tirelessly to create a more equitable world for all.

“We are honoured to be part of this event and stand alongside the LGBTQIA+ community in their journey towards equality and acceptance. We believe that by working together, we can build a future where diversity is celebrated and all individuals are valued for who they are.”

To book your tickets for the Progression Ball and Awards and to nominate somebody for an award, visit: www.prideactionnorth.org.uk/awards.

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