Business leaders in the city have stepped forward to rescue the Pride festival.

Debts totalling more than £180,000 owed to more than 20 companies and charities have plunged the future of the major event into doubt.

Now Michael Deol and Robert Webb, the owners of Club Revenge in Old Steine, and James Ledward, editor of GScene magazine and Paul Kemp of Aeon Events, have formed a community interest company in a bid to run Pride in Brighton and Hove for 2012.

They have vowed that all profits will be ploughed back into LGBT charitable causes. According to plans submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council, Stagfleet Ltd, the owner of Club Revenge, will underwrite the whole event. The directors also own 10 venues across the city, including The Dorset, Hove Kitchen, Zafferelli’s and the Sackville Hotel site.

Mr Deol said that £1 of the price of every ticket sold will be ring-fenced and donated directly to the Rainbow Fund to distribute through its grants porno programme to local LGBT/HIV organisations and charities that provide front line services to the LGBT community in Brighton and Hove.

He said: “We are delighted to have brought together what we think is a superb group of people to run and organise this year’s Pride in Brighton and Hove. “We have been negotiating on the future of the event with Brighton and Hove City Council and look forward to its decision.”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said that the Stagfleet bid is one of two under consideration. He would not disclose the identity of the second bidder.

He said: “A decision will be made by Councillor Geoffey Bowden, cabinet member for culture recreation and tourism, on March 6.”

The Argus understands that according to the group’s plans the route of the march and the venue for the party in Preston Park will remain unchanged at the event planned for September 1.

Former vice chair of Pride (South East) Nick Beck said that lessons would be learned from previous failures.

He said: “There is no reason the event last year should not have made a profit.

“I am confident that with prudent money management the festival can be a commercial success and will raise money for LGBT causes.

“The business acumen of Mr Deol and Mr Webb is well-proven.”

A major festival has unveiled new plans.

The organiser of Pride in Brighton has launched an information hot- line. Trevor Edwards, director of Pride Brighton and Hove, said information about this year’s festival is available around the clock on 01273 257225.

Wilde Ones International has been appointed as production company for the event in Preston Park on September 1. Tickets will go on sale in April.

Brighton and Hove City Council has given the go-ahead to the com- munity interest company formed by Michael Deol and Robert Webb, the owners of Club Revenge in Old Steine, and James Ledward,
editor of GScene magazine, to organise the event this year.

Mr Edwards said that £1 of theprice of every ticket sold will be ring- fenced and donated directly to the Rainbow Fund to distribute through its grants programme to local LGBT/HIV organisations and chari- ties that provide frontline services to the LGBT community in Brighton and Hove.

He said the organisers want to involve more community groups than ever before.

Dean Parker, boss at Wilde Ones in London said: “We are looking forward to working with Pride and Brighton and Hove City Council this year and will be making a full announcement soon.”

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