After nearly a decade it’s time for Pink Saltire SCIO to pack up and say goodbye.
We’ve had the most incredible journey since becoming a registered charity in May 2014, but the Trustees feel that now is the right time to wind-up the charity, having achieved many of the objectives we set out to accomplish. Subject to meeting the necessary requirements from the charity regulator OSCR, the organisation will be closed on 30th April 2023.
Firstly, we’d like to reassure the community that our legacy is assured through the continued operation of The Hive LGBT+ Centre in Kirkcaldy, the UK’s largest dedicated LGBT+ community space, which will be handed over to a new Community Interest Company ‘Love & Harmony CIC’ and continues to be run by and for LGBT+ people. Our long-term work in Perthshire also means we can confirm efforts there will be picked up by a new charity – Rainbow Heartlands – again led by local LGBT+ people. Our other current projects are due to be completed between the end of March and our closure date.
Over the past 9 years, Pink Saltire has championed the voices of those who were unheard and often marginalised, even within our own community – people from rural places, from working class communities and whose experiences were not always ‘mainstream’.
Staying true to our original objectives, we’ve tried to Learn, Share and Celebrate together, through all of our projects and community work.
Our efforts to develop new Pride events across Scotland since 2017, supporting organisers with advice from Shetland to the Borders, has been incredibly satisfying and rewarding. We are so proud of the impact Pride events in smaller communities has on society and on our community – over 70,000 people attended a Pride event in Scotland in 2019 and we hope to see the sector grow again as we recover from the pandemic.
We’ve also had significant success in sharing our unique Scottish perspective in the media, with hundreds of articles published and reaching over 500,000 people in more than 90 countries around the world from our website alone, not to mention mainstream coverage.
Our short films and documentaries, produced by incredibly talented LGBT+ creatives, offer a wealth of material which captures the experiences of LGBT+ people in Scotland and have been viewed in schools, universities, businesses and homes around the country and beyond. Our podcasts have offered community members a chance to share their lives and feelings with others, connecting people near and far, and helping those who can so often feel isolated. Work must continue at pace if we are to collectively combat the negative portrayal of our trans siblings by a largely hostile media in the UK.
At a local level we’ve championed the LGBT+ community within decision-making structures, including through partnership bodies in local Councils, NHS boards and through Police Scotland. Our work has always been based on facts, data and the lived experiences of LGBT+ people.
In recent years we’ve demonstrated the strength of these working relationships with both Fife Council and Perth & Kinross Council and want to place on record our thanks to their staff who continue to champion equality for LGBT+ people. This is often the ‘coal face’ of equalities work, embedding the legislative changes accomplished through Holyrood can be tough, but with partners like these, Scotland will become a better place for us all.
We’ve achieved lots of firsts, from community Pride events in places some said would never work, to harnessing the power of social media in new ways, and we’ve done it by pushing the boundaries and being fearless. Establishing the UK’s largest LGBT+ hub in the heart of the former industrial town of Kirkcaldy is one of our biggest achievements – if it can be done here, it can be done in lots of places around Scotland! Stepping off social media and ‘getting your hands dirty’ in communities is where the real reward is and we’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you at events, exhibitions, festivals, forums and ofcourse during Pride season. It fills us with joy hearing how our work has touched your lives in so many ways – thank you!
Ultimately though, we’re sorry that we’ve failed in our mission to convince our government of the real value in both funding and demonstrating practical support for organisations which embed the principles of LGBT+ equality at a local level in Scotland. National policy engagement is not enough – it takes hard graft for equality organisations to survive, facing abuse day in, day out for their mostly voluntary efforts. If Scotland is to become a better place for LGBT+ people, it’ll take more than appearances at a Pride march once a year, or sending a supportive letter every now and then to make real change happen.
Equality cannot be won on the backs of exhausted volunteers and community organisers who struggle to sustain basic services as Councils and Government have little or no equalities funding. It is not good enough for politicians to simply stick their heads in the sand when communities are demanding action on issues like hate crime, poor access to healthcare and when levels of trust in our public institutions is flat-lining. We should demand much more of our political class and of those who claim to speak for our community in these circles. We stand in solidarity with all those volunteers and community leaders in small organisations doing a huge amount of work right across Scotland.
While we might not be around to fight those fights as an organisation after April, our individual efforts will continue in new ways. We send our sincere best wishes to everyone we’ve worked with to deliver change over the last decade. Thank you to all of our followers, funders and supporters because without you this work would never have happened.
A huge thanks go to all our wonderful team too, whether volunteers or freelancers, who have contributed in so many ways to the success of our work over these years. We especially thank Stuart, the charity’s founder, whose drive, determination, energy and innovation have brought such positive change to the communities we’ve been lucky to work with.
Our fight through Pink Saltire comes to an end, but the fight for LGBT+ equality in every community in Scotland continues. Be part of it.
The Pink Saltire Trustees.
One thought on “IT’S GOODBYE FROM US…”
Thank you for your service to the LGBT+ community over the past decade, and for your information about kindred organisations and services. Huge strides forward have been made throughout this time, however “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, and while we feel a lot safer in Scotland and the UK nowadays, in other countries terrible reversals are happening that we feel powerless to do anything to stop.
The fight may never be over, but I thank you for the part you played in making it safer in Scotland.
All best wishes, and enjoy your retirement!