Pride in Sheffield organisers warn they may have to charge for entry
Pride in Sheffield's organisers say they face having to charge revellers for the first time, after launching an urgent appeal for funding.
An estimated 18,000 people attended what is the city's biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) celebration last summer, and volunteers hope to attract an even bigger turnout for what will be the 10th anniversary this year.
They are determined to keep the festivities free, but have warned that will not be possible without the support of the community.
A crowdfunding appeal has been launched, and they have also pleaded for sponsorship from local businesses and backing from Sheffield Council.
"The event brings a lot of money into the city. We have people coming from Leeds and Nottingham who stay in hotels here, and the pubs and restaurants along Ecclesall Road are always packed that evening.
"Given the money we generate for them, it's really disappointing that last year the only business on Ecclesall Road to sponsor us was Sainsbury's, and that we've had zero funding, involvement or support from the council."
As well as potentially charging for entry to the festival, Pride organisers say they are considering switching the route of the parade to Abbeydale Road for the first time, given the lack of funding from businesses on Ecclesall Road.
They have already lined up Britain's Got Talent star Kyle Tomlinson to sing at this year's event but say they need more funding to help secure other high quality acts, having been 'slated' over the standard of some of last year's performers.
Mr Hopkinson also called on those attendees who can afford it to contribute, pointing out that collections on the day raised a 'disappointing' £1,275 last year.
"Somebody recently asked me why we need Pride in Sheffield and I said it's because we're still so far behind the times," he said.
"One of our committee members was walking down Division Street last year holding his boyfriend's hand when he was spat upon.
"The fact we're still not at a point where someone feels safe and comfortable holding his boyfriend's hand in public shows how important it is we continue to come together once a year to celebrate diversity."
Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore said she was proud of the council's work with LGBT+ groups in the city and claimed it had supported Pride and numerous other events organised by those communities.
"We have directly funded Pride with grants up to 2014, as well as other LGBT organisations in the city and we offer other support in kind," she added.
"The council has had very deep financial cuts over the past eight years of austerity and our ability to fund events has been severely reduced but we do try and give other help in kind as well such as support from our events team.
"I am aware that the events team have worked closely with Pride and we are more than happy to support events and activities in the future."
* You can donate at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sheffield-pride.