Broadcast Project Manager for The Open University

What is your professional background?

For the last 9 years I have worked as a Broadcast Project Manager for The Open University, liaising with the BBC for programmes that are co-produced in partnership with the BBC.  I worked on The History of LGBTQ Britain and most recently on Aids: The Unheard Tapes.  My broadcast background was as a Sound Engineer for the BBC World Service radio and I have worked in many other broadcast roles in my career.

You volunteer for Pride in London as part of the finance team . What does that role involve?

My volunteering with Pride began before it was Pride in London back in 2012 as a general volunteer. In 2013 I volunteered with Pride in London and sorted out the finances following the 2013 parade. I always describe that task as“being given a carrier bag of receipts with no receipts in the bag!”  2013 was a very successful year for Pride in London following on from the collapse in 2012,but it did have it’s problems. I organised the finances post event, putting in place processes and procedures giving the organisation the financial robustness that is needed.  This led to me taking on the position of volunteer Finance Director which I held until stepping back in 2019. I have always been happy to be behind the scenes and so was very happy to continue on in the background on the practical side rather than the strategic side.

Over my time as a director I have been instrumental in many of the enhancements to the day, for example the “lollypops” carried by each section and the podiums along the route, both to give greater visibility to quieter parade groups that might otherwise be lost in the crowds.  I also helped bring about the partnership with The Scouts for the family area, a charityI also volunteer with.

Finance is always taken for granted when it is going well and over the years I have helped steer it from being the biggest concern asked about in community meetings, following 2012, to something that is just taken for granted when things happen correctly.  There are around 900 invoices and 750 bills a year that are individually processed, paid and reconciled by myself and a few others. Whether invoices for parade groups, stalls and sponsors or bills for suppliers, stage talent and  donations each transaction has to be processed.

We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march in London and since then the LGBTQ+ community has won many rights. So, do we really still really need a Pride?

Yes, while members of our community still face prejudice, inequalities and attacks, verbally and physically, we still need to stand up and show ourselves in every part of society, demonstrating that people should be able to be who they are.  The reasons for Pride differ from 1972 and from when I first attended in the 1990’s.  The age of consent was 21 and it was hard then to even walk down the street holding hands. Things have changed a lot in 50 years and Pride as a movement should remain, but keep moving forward to address the challenges affecting people today.

Pride: Politics or Party?

Pride is many things to many people, often private and personal and for others loud and world changing.  Some just want to be part of the majority for the day, some want to be with likeminded people,some have an LGBT+ cause they wish to campaign about. Some just want to show their support for a friend or family member, some wish to celebrate who they are. Pride probably means as many different things as there are people and Pride has the ability to be whatever we,individually, need it to be.  I like to remember my first pride and how I felt.  When training Pride volunteers, I ask them to think about their first pride and also those who will be attending their first Pride this year. Whether in the parade or hiding in the background somewhere, for some it will literally be a life changing experience. Pride makes that happen”.

We also need to remember that although we enjoy many freedoms in London elsewhere there are long-lasting struggles for equality, tolerance and human rights. Belgrade is Euro Pride 2022 and as a major world city we should support Prides like this.  There are 71 countries around the world that homosexuality is criminalised and we need to show that we support people in those countries by showing how acceptable it is in the UK.

What is the greatest thing about Pride?

Pride is a very personal thing for me and putting in many hours of volunteer time (more than my day job some weeks). I like to watch the parade, visit the various areas to take in the atmosphere and to people watch. Crime goes down on pride day and people are generally happy so I find it enjoyable to see so many people from all backgrounds protest, celebrate or do whatever they want to make Pride something for everyone. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

On a personal or professional level what has been your proudest achievement?

I have a business degree and also a small property portfolio which is where my interest for finance comes from.  I would describe myself as an enthusiastic amateur. I like solving problems and I know that had I not done what I did when I was Finance Director that Pride in London would not exist today. There are many others that can claim the same as so many great people have done so much. Being part of that team, knowing that what I did means that Pride happens and seeing it all come together on the day makes me feel very proud.

Describe David Bloomfield in three words.

Passionate, Practical, Proactive