The founder of a children’s charity which has been chosen as this year’s beneficiary for Worthing Pride said she would use the platform to improve education around LGBT+ issues.
The Treasure Basket Association, which offers therapy to children aged four to 11 and their families from disadvantaged backgrounds, will benefit from fundraising for the 2020 event.
Felicia Lycett, founder of the charity, based in Mulberry Lane, Goring, said the team was ‘absolutely thrilled and very thankful’ to be chosen.
She added: “It gives us great pleasure to be working with an organisation that promotes equality, celebrates individuality and unleashes creativity.”
The organisation began when Felicia got funding for subsidised therapy in Littlehampton in 2015.
Last year it got charity status, and now serves Worthing and Bognor Regis as well.
The charity specialises in giving children therapy through play, rather than more traditional forms which can be daunting for young people.
She said that as part of their work, they had referrals for children experiencing gender identity issues – where their perception of themselves as a ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ as society labels people does not align with their biological sex.
Felicia said it was essential to make children feel accepted – and hoped to use the platform given to them by Worthing Pride to spread this message through education.
She said: “It would be great to work with primary schools to celebrate Pride.
“The younger that we can say to children, ‘actually, you can be who you want to be, you are allowed to express yourself as you would like, and we accept you for you’ – I think the younger you can do that, the better it is for everybody.
“It is the way we should be; we shouldn’t have to think twice about it.”
Since its inception in 2018, Worthing Pride has gone from strength to strength, with tens of thousands of people lining the seafront to watch the procession last year.
Organisers Josie Kelly and James Spencer stepped down to focus on other projects, handing over the reins to Worthing locals Pete Jervis and Mike Hall, both 34, who run iPro Security and had previously provided their services for the event.
Mike said: “We have been involved in Pride from the start, and we have supported the old organisers throughout: not just with security but in the organising of the event.
“We knew they were stepping down, and there was a chance it might not have gone ahead due to funding.
“So we thought about the positive influence on Worthing and the people here, and we wanted to keep that going.”
He said they chose The Treasure Basket Association as both having young children, the cause was close to their hearts.
This year’s event will be taking place on Saturday, July 11, with the main sponsors being Pitch, The Cow Shed and Aspire Residential.
Mike said they hoped to make the procession bigger and better than previous years, and added that the line-up – featuring some high-profile drag queens – was almost finalised and would be announced soon.
Tickets for the main event, which will be in Beach House Grounds, go on sale on Friday, and can be bought on the pride website: worthingpride.com