New LGBT group launched in Ripon + plans for the city's first Pride event

A photo from the group's first meetup.
A photo from the group's first meetup.

A new LGBT social group has been launched in Ripon as part of an exciting drive to celebrate the city's diversity.

The group's organisers said there are also plans to organise a Pride picnic for the summer, and enter an LGBT float for a future St Wilfrid's Procession.

James Gray, a member of the Ripon LGBT Social Group, said: "There is very little support for the gay community in rural areas, especially for teenagers. Many LGBT youth end up self-harming or turning to substance abuse to deal with the confusion and isolation they feel.

"We are hoping that by coming together with people of all ages, we can show Ripon is a diverse community and that we do care."

More than 20 people attended the first meet-up at SO! Bar last week, and the next social will be held on June 1 at the same venue, starting at 8pm.

Paul McAndrew, who helped to set up the group, said: "I think it's very important that an LGBT group exists in Ripon.

"I think an active and visible LGBT community, as well as people from different parts of the world, will help to ensure that Ripon is a thriving, diverse, friendly and interesting place to live.

"We intend to hold monthly pub-based social events in Ripon, and hope to also hold regular weekend daytime meetups in one of the wheelchair accessible cafes in Ripon. Other possible future activities we're looking at are organised walks, cinema trips, and maybe meetups for LGBT parents."

Paul said a number of residents have already come forward to help organise future events for the group.

Visit the Ripon LGBT Social Group's Facebook page to find out more, or follow @riponlgbt on Instagram.