UK's first LGBT+ media and business centre to open in Gateshead
A former television studio in the region is getting a new lease of life to become the UK’s first LGBT+ business and media centre.
Stonehills, at Shields Road, Pelaw, was previously used by the BBC but has been empty for many years.
But now, with the support of Gateshead Council, it will become Pride Media Centre, offering opportunities and support to the LGBT+ community.
The complex will be the home of Pride Community Network, a not-for-profit organisation and will become the new base for North East station, Pride Radio 89.2 fm, which currently broadcasts online to around 125 countries from studios at Newcastle’s Dance City.
This will also be followed by the launch in 2019 of an online television station, Out and Proud TV.
Jonathan Morrell, chair of the Board of PCN, and TV broadcaster and journalist, said: “This is a really exciting venture and we’re delighted to be able to run the first dedicated LGBT+ business and media centre in the UK.
“There is a real opportunity here for us to do something very special and give the LGBT+ community the chance to turn their business ideas into a reality with the full support of a strong network of experts.
“We are extremely grateful to Gateshead Council for being so forward-thinking in allowing us to launch this unique venture here in the North East.”
The centre has TV and radio studios as well as recording booths, along with 16 offices to be available to fledgling businesses from the LGBT+ community and its supporters.
The aim is for businesses to develop and be nurtured in the incubator hub, in a safe environment with support given to address any particular issues.
At the same time, the centre will run outreach programmes aimed at reaching isolated members of the LGBT+ community and deliver to them a range of relevant services.
Initially, the management team are being seconded from Pride World Media, which is a multi-platform LGBT+ broadcaster, to help the venture get off the ground.
Councillor, John Adams, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Pride Community Network to Gateshead, not only because they’re dynamic and ambitious but because they promote and embrace diversity.
“As a council this is something we are very much supportive off, and as a gay man it is important to me personally.
“The council is helping the company get started and we’re looking forward to seeing and hearing more from Pride Community Network in the new year.”
The not-for-profit organisation is now looking for support from businesses across the region which are interested in building their relationship with the LGBT+ community.