By ALLISON HORE
The Inner West Council have opened applications for a panel which will provide advice and feedback on the establishment of a pride centre in the inner west.
The panel is being set up to ensure that the diverse needs of the LGBTIQ community are considered and incorporated into the establishment of the proposed Inner West Pride Centre.
The proposed pride centre will run a number of wellbeing and health support programs for LGBTIQ people in the local area. According to the council, some of the issues the centre will address include social isolation, bullying and harassment. Specialist mental health services, for example to support people transitioning, will also be provided.
Mayor of the Inner West Council, Darcy Byrne, said the inner west’s thriving LGBTIQ community makes it the perfect location for such a centre to be established.
“The Inner West has been the home to a large and vibrant LGBTIQ community for many decades and we have been the beating heart and soul of the struggle for civil rights in this country,” he said.
“That’s why we’ve been so determined to bring this vision to life.”
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2.24% of all couples in the Inner West are same-sex couples compared to Greater Sydney at 0.56%. In a council survey, 87% of respondents said it was “very or extremely important” to have a Pride Centre in the Inner West.
The idea of the pride centre was first put before council in October 2017 by Councillor Anna York. The council supported Ms. York’s motion, and moved to “identify options” for its creation. The public was then invited to share their ideas for the centre.
Since then the idea has taken shape, with Newtown Town Hall being identified as the most suitable location for the centre. The current occupant of the Town Hall, the Newtown Community Centre, has been asked by the council to move so the building can undergo refurbishment.
The Newtown Community Centre agreed to move to a permanent home at the Tom Foster Community Centre in south Newtown.
The panel will have a maximum of 12 people on it and selected panelists will have their expenses for participating reimbursed. People from outside the inner-west local government area are also welcome to apply.
Mayor Byrne said the establishment of the centre is a “big step forward” for the inner west.
Applications to join the panel close on Friday the 13th of November and can be made on the Inner West Council’s webpage.