The future of Glasgow’s ‘Mardi Gla’ event is in doubt after the majority of it’s Board resigned.
LGBT Co-operative Chair, Will Labate, along with colleagues Garry Graham and Maggie Murphy have all resigned as Directors. The organisation previously lost 2 further board members during the summer, leaving just 2 legal representatives of the company.
In response, a statement from Mardi Gla says the former Directors are to be “commended for their personal sacrifice” in steering the organisation through the first event.
The LGBT Co-operative was registered with Companies House on 21st January 2019 and its legal papers require it to have a minimum of three Directors to operate.
None of the former Directors have offered any statement or communication to Pink Saltire despite our attempts to contact them.
The full statement from The LGBT Co-op reads:
“Mardi Gla wishes to place on record its thanks to the members of the community who joined us in a governance role to oversee the great success of the inaugural Mardi Gla, which proved [sic] a free pride march and free major event could take place in Glasgow.”
“It was a turbulent time for the LGBT community in Glasgow and those individuals who gave up their time to try and make things better are to be commended for their personal sacrifice that they made in steering this event through the threats and rancour that were endured and creating such a steady footing for the second Mardi Gla.”
“A number of new faces have joined our community effort to provide a free, no cost to the community Pride and when we launch plans for 2020, they will be ready to set out their vision and drive for a community focussed event.”
Mardi Gla was launched in a blaze of glory at the start of this year, with ambitions to be one of the biggest LGBT events in Scotland. It promised to offer Glasgow an alternative free Pride march and festival event after ticketing issues blighted Pride Glasgow in 2018.
However, the organisation was left red-faced saying it had “fallen short” when a lack of funding left it unable to fulfill its plan for a huge weekend street festival around the Merchant City area of Glasgow. It blamed a lack of business support for the decision.
Despite the set-back for the festival, a march did take place on Saturday 20th July, with an estimated 7,000 people setting off from Kelvingrove Park arriving at George Square where a number of political speeches acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. An event was also held at Strathclyde Union with live entertainment throughout the afternoon.
Questions remain unanswered however surrounding serious allegations made by a former volunteer about financial irregularities before the Mardi Gla event was held, including that no official bank account existed for the group and that a charity collection tin may have gone missing. Despite our attempts, the LGBT Co-op have not responded to these allegations.
Pink Saltire also raised a legitimate query about the Proud Scotland Awards, organised by LGBT Co-op with seats costing upwards from £80 each on 1st June this year. The glitzy event was held at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow to recognise the efforts of LGBT activists all over the country but also to raise funds for the LGBT Co-op and LGBT good causes – but nobody has yet confirmed the amount raised through the goodwill of people buying seats and raffle tickets on the night. Tickets for a 2020 event are already onsale starting at £96 each!
Pink Saltire raised questions about these issues several times with the organisation. We contacted former Chair, Will Labate but received no response.
We have contacted Executive Director, Euan McLeod but received no response.
As directed to do so, we also contacted the main LGBT Co-op email address, but again received no response.