Following the recent public meeting organised by Pride in Brighton and Hove as part of its open consultation process on its proposals for Pride in 2010, the Chair, Yvonne Barker has resigned from that position and retired as a trustee and from the board with immediate effect.
The text of her letter to the board read as follows:
“It is with much regret that I am standing down as Chair of Pride after 4 years on the board. As Chair I accept responsibility for the relationship breakdown between Pride and some community groups and local businesses. However I stand by the board’s position that Pride, and particularly the park event, should refocus on the needs of the LGBT community and the delivery of Pride’s charitable objectives. Also that no business should have an automatic right to profit from the park, and that open and transparent tender processes and open book accounting, in terms of who is profiting from running Pride, should be in place. The aggressive and bullying approach to the Pride trustees and staff adopted by a small number of business and press representatives that are being used on social networking sites and in some of the gay press, and that were displayed at the Pride open meeting on Tuesday evening, is shameful. If this is the way that such individuals and organisations behave then they are certainly not the right people to either save Pride or to run the park event. I hope that in securing the future of Pride in 2010 and beyond Pride as a charity is able to work with those who genuinely care about all of the LGBT community, and not the small number of aggressive individuals who oppose positive change and that have a vested interest in making money and taking it down a commercial route.”
Robert Clothier, currently vice chair of Pride is to step in as acting Chair. Commenting on the resignation he said: “I would like to thank Yvonne for her work and dedication in professionalising Pride to make it more transparent and putting in key operational measures that ensures the accountability of Pride to its members.
“The role has often meant that trustee volunteers come under personal attack in working for the best interests of the organisation and this is not constructive.
“Yvonne has acted with absolute integrity and will be sorely missed. The whole board and the Pride team are hugely grateful to her.”
The Pride board has a scheduled meeting this evening and will make an announcement on the next steps in the consultation process, which it accepts needs to take place as quickly as possible.