Sabio Volunteering Day - Swindon & Wiltshire Pride 2023
In August, I was part of an incredible group of individuals who came together to make Swindon & Wiltshire Pride (SWP) 2023 a resounding success. As a registered charity, SWP is driven by a passionate Executive Committee of 14 volunteers who tirelessly work throughout the year to promote equality and diversity, raise awareness about discrimination, and create a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community.
I've personally been on this journey since 2018, starting as the Website Manager and transitioning into a Trustee role over the past two years.
This year's annual event marked an exceptional milestone for SWP, as we celebrated our 15th anniversary with a bang, and it was brimming with exciting highlights:
- A pride march, uniting over 500 individuals
- A family circus zone
- A quiet zone
- Six hours of live entertainment, featuring appearances by local Drag Queens, the talented Nicki French, RuPaul's Drag Race star Tia Kofi, and UK Eurovision sensation Skooch
- Sign language interpreters to ensure inclusivity
- Fully accessible mobile toilets
- An incredible turnout of 6,500 attendees throughout the day
Behind the scenes, dozens of dedicated volunteers joined forces to ensure the event's setup, operation, and wrap-up ran smoothly, bringing the local Pride celebrations to life. I seized the opportunity to use one of my Sabio Volunteer Day’s, where I channeled my energy into setting up vibrant signage around town, assembling gazebos, and prepping the event's information hub, merchandise stalls, and volunteer equipment, all in anticipation of the main event.
The main event began on the Saturday, which for me, started at 7 AM - and we hit the ground running. Throughout the day, I was stationed at the Information Point & Event Control, collaborating closely with local authorities, security personnel, and radio managers to guarantee the safety and well-being of both our volunteers and the public. It was a long, eventful day, but the sense of accomplishment and fun made every moment worth it. Plus, in an unexpected turn of events, we were invited to join performers Scooch on stage for their finale song "Flying the Flag"!
Pride isn't just a fleeting celebration; it's a continuous journey that demands ongoing support. So, I wholeheartedly urge you to dive into volunteering within your own community and rally behind your local Pride initiatives.
With my radio call sign as "Papa4," I signed off, knowing that each effort we put in contributes to a more inclusive and vibrant world. Over and out, Denise.