Turning a town around
The publication this year of awful hate crime statistics for Bolton motivated a number of different groups and individuals to take action. Bolton Library & Museum Service, Bolton Lads & Girls Club, Bolton Council Community Safety team, the local Police and the organisers of Wigan Pride had all started to act independently to improve the situation in the town. The local council’s community safety team have begun to coordinate the efforts of the agencies above as they became aware of them.
Bolton Council has previously flown the Rainbow flag for IDAHOBIT so there has been some visible support from the council in the past.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of support at top council level with both the mayor’s office and the leader of the council being extremely supportive of my request to fly rainbow & other LGBT flags for almost every LGBT festival this year including Bi Visibility Day from the main flag pole above the central library/museum and smaller flags around the town. The council is buying the flags and has programmed the dates into the diary.
The Library & Museum have also been supportive giving display space for key LGBT calendar dates.
Until this year LGBT organisations and other supportive spaces have been inward facing: supporting those who come to them rather than reaching out into the community. Little has been done to raise LGBT visibility and acceptance this has probably mostly been due to the lack of safe spaces in the town. For the first time all of the various agencies are coming together to form a more visible presence.
As part of the campaign the council will be working with the police to raise awareness in local Pubs and Bars and reminding the owners that tolerance and refusal to accept hate crime is part of their licence agreements.
Come to / help out at Bolton Pride www.boltonpride.com 16-18th October