SALISBURY Pride has relaunched with four directors, including a councillor who said she has learned from "mistakes" that led to last year's cancellation.

The group championing the city's LGBTQ+ community hopes to build on the work of previous organisers and "move on" from the cancellation of Pride 2023.

Founder and Wiltshire Councillor Caroline Corbin, who opened Progress Bar in 2022 and launched Salisbury Pride in 2019, is part of the new leadership team which also includes Harriet Kelly, Helen Maple and Reece Brown.

Salisbury Pride's annual event at Queen Elizabeth Gardens was cancelled in 2023 after plans to run a bar in Endless Street fell through.

Salisbury Journal: Progress Bar closed in February 2023, less than three months after it opened.Progress Bar closed in February 2023, less than three months after it opened. (Image: Annette J Beveridge Newsquest)

Mrs Corbin said Progress Bar should have been the funding stream for Pride but she "did not get the funds to make it sustainable and there were issues with the building".

The bar, which opened in November 2022, was forced to close in February 2023 for numerous reasons, including a lack of outside funding, planning restrictions and a lack of staff, according to Mrs Corbin.

Read more: Progress Bar received notification to vacate premises

Mrs Corbin said she was advised to create a standalone company rather than opening the bar under Salisbury Pride which she later discovered “was not the wisest thing to do”.

She was also slapped with an error £25k energy bill, despite Progress Bar being open for less than three months.

It later transpired that £19k was outstanding from previous tenants, and the actual usage cost was just £42.26.

Salisbury Journal: Harriet Kelly, Helen Maple, Reece Brown and Caroline Corbin are the new directors of Salisbury Pride.Harriet Kelly, Helen Maple, Reece Brown and Caroline Corbin are the new directors of Salisbury Pride. (Image: Salisbury Pride)

Salisbury Pride hasn’t benefitted from sponsorships since its last major event in July 2022 and it had only ever received £5k of government money in its first year.

Mrs Corbin has been paying the outstanding debt, which included a £3k rates bill, from her own pocket. She said: “Will the LGBT community come and support me? I don’t know but it was a mess I needed to sort out and I have cleared it.

“Mistakes happen all the time it’s a learning curve. We have learned from it, let’s move on.

"I’m still fire fighting to a degree, the battle is never over with what happened before, but I’m hoping with the new directors that the legacy will live on."

The director reshuffle will incorporate a "joined-up" approach to running Salisbury Pride 2024.

See more: ​Salisbury Pride 2023 cancelled due to money issues after bar closure

Miss Kelly said: "We are so excited to be relaunching Salisbury Pride in Summer 2024, with a new team of directors and volunteers working hard behind the scene to put on an inclusive celebration for our wonderful city.

"Our team are deeply passionate about reshaping the future of SPUK, and it is our upmost priority to ensure that the voice of our local community is heard throughout every step of our planning process."

Salisbury Pride will be hosting its first focus group at the Anchor and Hope, Winchester Street, on Tuesday, April 9, starting from 7pm.

The new directors are keen to hear the LGBTQ+ community's thoughts about the past, present and future of Salisbury Pride and have encouraged people to fill out a survey.