Two of Darlington’s biggest employers have thrown their support behind the town’s annual Pride celebrations.
Global technology company Cummins and care home operator HC-One are joint sponsors of the three day Pride Weekender in August, celebrating Darlington’s LGBTQIA+ community.
Organised by Darlington Borough Council, the event takes in the long-standing MonGay night with a special event on August 8, featuring drag acts, cabaret and parties in LGBTQIA+ friendly bars and pubs across the town, as well as live performances on the catwalk stage on Blackwellgate.
The following weekend the family friendly Pride Festival will take place in the Market Square on Saturday, August 13, with the Pride picnic on Sunday, August 14 in South Park.
A full line up on Saturday includes the Pride March to kick off the event at noon, followed by tribute acts from Queen to Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande, live music, street theatre, food and drink, information stalls and activities. The Pride Picnic is a relaxed family event with acoustic music from Tracks Darlington, a drag story tent by Curious Arts, games, bubbles and a rainbow trail.
Cummins and HC-One have each provided sponsorship to show their support for their local community and to help ensure the three day event remains free for everyone to attend.
Councillor Darrien Wright, Darlington Borough Council’s LGBTQIA+ champion, said: “Darlington has a strong tradition of supporting and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and the Pride event has grown over the years to become one of the year’s biggest.
“It means a lot that companies the size of Cummins and HC-One are supporting the event and the LGBTQIA+ community – many of who will be their own staff, customers or service users – and helping us keep growing our Pride celebrations each year and keep them free for everyone to join in.
“Everyone is very, very welcome to attend, whether they’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or as an ally. The weekend events in particular are very family-friendly and we’re going all out to make it a Pride to remember in Darlington.”
HC-One, founded in 2011, operates almost 300 care homes nationally and has its headquarters in Archer Street.
James Tugendhat, HC-One’s chief executive officer, said: “HC-One are delighted to sponsor this year’s Darlington Pride. As one of Darlington’s biggest employers, it’s important to us as an organisation to show support of the LGBTQ+ community and promote inclusivity and diversity, show solidarity and friendship to each other as a promise that both residents and colleagues can be who they are at work and in our care homes, and express who they are without fear.
“As the Kind Care Company, it is our mission to provide the kindest support and care to residents living in our care homes, as we strive to be the first-choice care provider in each of the communities that we serve. We are proud to support Darlington Pride and the work that Darlington Borough Council carries out to help support older people living in our local community.”
Technology leader and engine manufacturer Cummins has been based at its Yarm Road site since 1965 and employs more than 1,500 people.
Laura Gilmore, director of corporate affairs and Europe Pride employee group sponsor, said: “We at Cummins want everyone to feel confident to bring their full selves to work. Diversity and inclusion are in our core company values and we have a thriving PRIDE employee network.
“We are delighted to be supporting Darlington Pride again and are looking forward to attending. I would like to extend thanks to Darlington Borough Council for continuing to organise this important event for our local area.”
Craig Thomas, Darlington campus plant manager, said: “We are thrilled to be the headline sponsor again for Darlington Pride. We are looking forward to the Pride march on the Saturday, where many of our colleagues, friends and family will be in attendance and showcasing our support to the local LGBTQIA+ community – let’s make this year one to remember!”
More details about the Pride Weekender will be made available in the run up to the event, but for the latest information visit www.facebook.com/Darloprideweekender