The importance of Pride as a protest and as a celebration

The importance of Pride as a protest and as a celebration

With this year being the 50th anniversary of the UK’s very first Pride parade, we at Impactful Governance think that its only right that we take a look at how Pride in the UK came to be and how it’s important as a celebration and as a protest. The first widely-recognized American gay rights organisation was based in Chicago. Named the Society for Human Rights, it was founded by a German emigrant named Henry Gerber in 1924.


On Saturday the 1st of July 1972 the first ever UK Pride parade was held in London. It was the first protest of its kind and the parade made it’s way from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. The organisers chose this date specifically, because it was the closest Saturday to the Stonewall riots that took place on the 28th of June 1969. The parade saw the attendance of over 200 people as well as numerous organisations like the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). The protest was the culmination of a weeks’ worth of protests for Gay rights for London Pride. Though the parade was heavily policed, it was a monumental step forward in the early Pride movement of the UK.


While not born of protest, Hertfordshire Pride is just as important as any of the other larger Pride celebrations across the Country. The event was a result of two years of discussions held by the Hertfordshire LGBTQ+ Partnership, an organisation made up of public authorities and private organisations. The first Hertfordshire Pride was held in the summer of 2013 at Cassiobury Park in Watford and was hailed as a great success, so much so that it has continued to be held pretty much every year with a short period in Hemel Hempstead. This year will be the 10th Herts’ Pride and it will once again be in Watford. It will take place on the 20th of August at Cassiobury Park and is arguably the biggest celebration of the LGBTQ+ community across the county.


Celebrations such as these are important because not only are they a safe space where we people can be their true, authentic selves and express who we love without judgement but it also highlights just how far we (as a community) have come. For years the celebration of Pride has been intrinsically linked with the act of protest. In fact, throughout History the celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride has been used as a way to protest the erosion of our rights. A prime example of this is a Pride march that took place on the 30th of April 1988. This march was a direct response to the implementation of Section 28, a series of laws that forbad the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities in schools across the UK.


Thus far there is no Pride Parade in Watford although the Pride event is well attended. Pride parades are so important and we would love to see the parade take shape in the coming months as we begin discussions with community organisations and Watford Borough Council to make the town centre more inclusive and vibrant. The use of Pride marches as a protest played a significant role in getting our community where it is today. We can credit our previous and ongoing progress to the protesters who are willing to step up and fight for our rights. As a community that has been discriminated against and abused for centuries, it’s only right that we should be able to openly celebrate who we love and our gender expression. After all, how can we expect to normalise something if we don’t celebrate how it is completely natural? That is why the use of Pride as a protest and as a celebration is so essential to our community. It acts as a push for change and shows that the LGBTQ community has always existed, will continue to exist and normalising is the way forward for everyone.


If you would like to take part in our 2022 LGBTQ+ survey, please visit HERE

Mental health and the LGBTQ+ community

Mental health and the LGBTQ+ community.

Mental health problems can and do effect everyone. However, they disproportionately seem to affect those within the LGBTQ+ community. This is not to say that being LGBTQ+ immediately gives an individual poor mental health but there is definitely a correlation between common mental health problems and being LGBTQ+.

In a study conducted by Youth Chances, 52 percent of the LGBTQ+ participants reported self-harming compared to 35 percent of their cisgender “straight” counterparts. The study also found that just under half of the participants (44 percent) reported having regular suicidal thoughts. Our own research report from 2021 showed that when asked “have you ever had any mental health, depression or suicidal thoughts” 42% of respondents replied yes (downloadable report from ). These initial sample results have led us to conduct further research during our current 2022 LGBTQ+ research for Watford to find out from a larger sample. If you would like to take part and are from the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, please visit to click on the 2022 link.

Furthermore, a report conducted by Stonewall UK found that 1 in 8 LGBTQ+ people (13 percent) attempted to take their own life within the last year. Just under half of the transgender participants (46 percent) reported thoughts of taking their own life within the last year compared to 31 percent of their cisgender piers.

So why is it that the LGBTQ+ community adversely affected by mental health issues? It is because they face a number of problems that our straight “cis” piers do not encounter. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is hate crime. According to a report written by Stonewall, experiencing a hate crime significantly increased an LGBTQ+ individual’s likelihood of developing mental health problems. The study found that 69 percent of LGBTQ+ victims of a hate crime reported experiencing depression and 76 percent reported experiencing extreme episodes of anxiety.

Again, using our own research from 2021, we saw that Watford disclosed that almost 32% of respondents had experienced hate crime and of those, the same percentage stated it happened in Watford. We will be comparing figures against both 2021 & 2022 to see if anything has improved or become worse at the end of our study during September this year (we hope to see you at Herts Pride on 20th August in Watford, if you would like to speak further in-person about any other issues).

LGBTQ+ young people are also significantly more likely to experience bullying at a higher rate than their heterosexual piers throughout their school career. In a school report conducted by Stonewall, they found that nearly half of LGBTQ+ pupils experienced some form of bullying as a result of their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the mental fall out of this is more likely to disproportionately effect LGBTQ+ children of colour. In a study conducted by Just Like Us, of the Black young people surveyed 89 percent reported experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings compared to 67 percent of their white LGBTQ+ piers. We are exploring older aged people’s experience and will release the new statistics from our own 2022 LGBTQ+ research in September.

Now that you have a more comprehensive idea of some of the additional issues LGBTQ+ people face and how this can contribute to the rise of mental health problems within the community, we at Impactful Governance hope you can understand why what we are doing is so important.

We wish to make the Watford area a more LGBTQ+ friendly place but to do that we need to prioritise and listen to the voices of its LGBTQ+ residents which is why we are conducting the current survey. While the questions pertaining to mental health and suicide may be viewed as invasive to some, it is a fact that the LGBTQ+ community experiences a higher rate of mental health problems than our cisgender straight counterparts. By addressing this in our latest research, we hope to spark a wider conversation on suicide prevention within the local LGBTQ+ community.

We really do hope to make the Watford area a safer and more inclusive place but to do that we have to broach some heavy topics. After all, how can we make our local LGBTQ+ community thrive if we don’t know what improvements need to be made? So, if you have the time, please fill out our survey and together we can have a greater influence on positive change:


Helping Watford have more Pride

2021 Pride Hertfordshire Watford Impactful

Helping Watford have more Pride.

  • Are you a Watford or Three Rivers local?
  • Are you part of (or an ally to) the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Do you wish that the local community did more to cater to its LGBTQ residents?


If any of these questions apply to you then we at Impactful Governance think you might be interested in our latest ongoing project.

For those that may be unaware, Impactful Governance is surveying the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people and allies within the Watford area. Once we have gathered our target of 200+ participants, we will then publish a report with our findings to spark a wider conversation on how the local area can be more inclusive to its LGBTQ+ residents.

When we experimented last year the majority of participants came to the overwhelming consensus that events that catered to the LGBTQ+ community were not often advertised that well with participants noting that both online and physical advertisement was lacking.  Participants agreed that while we did have Watford Pride, it was often filled with majority straight families and felt very corporate and sanitised. While this isn’t a bad thing by any means, a few participants expressed frustration with the fact that there were no meeting spaces in Watford specifically made for LGBTQ+ people.

When asked how to combat the issues presented, participants stated that while online communities are great, many would like some sort of physical event to take place once in a while, perhaps an LGBTQ+ coffee morning or pub crawl once a month. To help with the issue of lack of advertisement, one participant suggested the creation of an app that would notify those who signed up for any LGBTQ+ events going on in the local area. Finally, when asked about what improvements could be made to make the local area more inclusive in terms of policy making and basic freedoms, participants suggested that when putting forward new policies that could affect those in the LGBTQ community, the Council and other figures of authority should ask members of the community for their input. This suggestion also applied to any events that are to be planned in the future.

While these accounts must seem pretty damning and negative, there is a silver lining. The fact that there is a Pride event in Watford at all is a huge achievement in itself and while our community may be unrepresented, the celebrations of who we love are extremely monumental in their own right. What’s more, when events for the LGBTQ+ community are organised, many of the participants stated that they were actively encouraged by those involved to attend. We are not trying to shame the local area for what pride celebrations and events they organise, we as an organisation are however highlighting our findings that we feel could be beneficial for local celebrations of LGBTQ+ identities. This is because while Watford and the Three Rivers area aren’t unsupportive by any means, more could always be done to help our LGBTQ+ residents. 

So now you know more about our ongoing project and the results from the previous year, we really hope you will consider contributing. It will only take 5 minutes and we hope that by gathering a significantly larger sample size, we can make Watford and Three Rivers more inclusive for LGBTQ+ folks. If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, your opinion would be greatly valued and together we can help the Watford and Three Rivers LGBTQ+ community thrive and become the best it possibly can be.

Please use the following link to participate:

All you need to know about sustainable gardening

To first understand what is meant by the term “sustainable gardening” we first must understand what the phrase means. In simple terms, sustainable gardening is the practice of actively trying to give back to the earth while doing as little damage as possible. It arose to try and combat the effects of climate change.

Now that we know what sustainable gardening is, we can start to see why it is so important. As a result of the generations upon generations abusing our planet’s natural (and finite) resources and generating tons of pollution every day, our planet is dying. We can see it in the changing weather and the melting polar ice. Our earth is coming ever closer to that point of no return where it will be too late to reverse what we’ve done. But it is not too late to try and make a difference right now. Its common knowledge that our earth’s green spaces are vital for our planet’s survival, and this is where the practice of sustainable gardening comes in. While increased urbanisation is slowly destroying our planet’s outdoor spaces, we often forget we have a pocket of nature right in our backyard. By practising sustainable gardening methods, we as individuals can do our part to combat the damage done to our earth.

So now that we all understand what sustainable gardening is and why it is so important for the future of our planet, we at Impactful Governance have rounded up a few of our favourite tips to create a sustainable garden of your own.


1. Go all-natural.

While pesticides may be the most common and convenient way to get rid of unwanted visitors, they are full of harmful chemicals that damage the overall health of your plants and the wildlife that call your garden home. Companion plants and beneficial insects are a much more eco-friendly alternative. Companion planting works by planting two plants near each other to enhance each other’s growth or offer pest protection. A good example of a companion plant is Borage. When planted near tomato plants it prevents the unwanted visitation of tomato hornworms, real pain for tomato growers everywhere. What’s more, honeybees and other beneficial pollinators adore borage blossoms. By planting borage, not only will you be discouraging unwanted pests, but you will also be providing a valuable source of nutrients for our Earth’s bees.


2. Avoid Peat.

Peat is often used as an addition or as an alternative to compost. It’s made from the remains of plants and vegetables that were around millions of years ago. You would think adding peat to your soil would be a good thing but unfortunately, you would be wrong. You see, peat bogs are a haven for all sorts of wildlife and when we mine this material for our gardens, we are destroying these organisms’ habitats. Peat bogs also store carbon and damaging them releases this greenhouse gas back into our Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to this, peat is also an unsustainable material because of how it is made. It takes millions of years to form, and we are mining it faster than it can reform, meaning that once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Therefore peat-free compost is so important. Not only is it much better for the environment and exponentially more beneficial for your garden, but you can also make it at home with the green waste you produce, saving you more money in the long run.


3. Sustainable decorating.

Creating a sustainable garden doesn’t just begin and end with the plants you choose to cultivate, it also extends to the décor you have in your garden. As we head into the warmer months, we’ll be using our gardens much more. Whether it be a fancy garden party or a get together between family and friends, we will all need somewhere to relax. If you are in the market for some new garden furniture, try buying furniture made from sustainable or recycled materials. This Astor  table and chair set prove that furniture made from recycled materials can be stylish and sustainable. If that’s not your thing, then this garden set is not only perfect for entertaining guests but is also made from natural and sustainable materials.

All in all, sustainable gardening is just one way to give back to the earth. By doing what we can with the green spaces we have, we can give back to our planet and reduce our impact on the environment. By incorporating sustainable gardening practices into your garden, you can be assured that you are doing your part to help the planet.

Bee Friendly Plants

5 bee-friendly plants you can plant this spring.

It is common knowledge that the human race is a direct cause of our bee’s endangered status. In a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University, Christina Grozinger notes that continued urbanization and climate change pose a significant threat to the Earth’s bee population. The destruction of the bee’s habitats means that they have to travel long distances to find food while our ever-changing climate is causing a noticeable shift in the seasons. Sudden cold spells and prolonged, hot Summers cause these little insects to lose their natural synchronicity

with the plants that they feed on. This unpredictable weather spells often result in bees going out to forage earlier than many of their food sources have flowered, causing them to starve.

So what can we do to help? Well, the answer is very simple. If you have the space, consider making your garden more bee-friendly. With our bees having to travel further and further to find food, planting bee-friendly flowers will provide the bees with a local food source that could be readily available all year round. But aren’t all plants bee-friendly? Some are more effective at attracting bees than others and lucky for you dear readers, we at Impactful  Governance have put together a list of the 5 most bee-friendly plants you can introduce to your garden this spring.

1 Lavender.

Did you know bees can see some colors better than others? You would think that vibrant hews of reds and yellow would be the most pleasing to a bee but you would be wrong. Bees can see colors such as blue and purple better than any other color and it is for this reason that the lovely lavender is the first plant on our list. Its beautiful purple coloring is perfect for attracting bees from miles around. The fact that it blooms from June until August (the time in which bees are at their busiest) makes it an ideal source of nectar throughout the summer months. What’s more, it is relatively easy to tend to, making it a perfect beginner plant for you newer gardeners out there.

2. Clover.

You may be surprised to see this one on our list but clover is actually beneficial to bees. For starters clover flowers in early spring which is great for any honey bees that have awoken early as a result of climate change, and it will continue to flower throughout the summer as well. In addition (like lavender) clover is relatively easy to care for. It will grow back relatively quickly after being cut or trampled. In fact, people are finding it a better alternative to grass, opting to replace the grassy spaces in their gardens with clover. So if you really want to treat the honey bees this spring consider planting clover in your garden.

3. Spring bulbs.

Now I may be cheating here with the inclusion of this one since I’m not mentioning any specific plant but here me out. Bulbs are resilient little plants and by planting them in autumn, you can all but guarantee that the bees will have a reliable source of pollen in the months when there is little else in flower. Bulbs like the crocus are ideal as it flowers in early spring, meaning they will be a vital source of pollen and nectar for the bees that start foraging as early as February. So with all that in mind, consider planting some spring bulbs in your garden.

4. Coneflowers.

These flowers have seen a boom in popularity throughout the last few years and with good reason. Not only are they beautiful to look at but they are also a rich source of pollen and nectar. These flowers are a favorite amongst bees due to their long bloom time. They usually bloom from about June to August and can even continue into September (if weather conditions are favorable) meaning if you choose to plant this in your garden, local bees will be well fed for months. Furthermore, Coneflowers are quite easy to take care of. They do well in most soil types and their sturdy stems mean that you don’t have to stake them. They can also be planted pretty much all year round as long as the ground isn’t frozen over but it is usually accepted that March through April is the best time to plant them. So if you want to help the bees, consider planting these beautiful flowers this spring.

5.  Native wildflowers.

One of the best things you can do for the Earth’s pollinators is plant wildflowers native to the country you live in. While non-native flowers may look beautiful, they often compete with native flowers. What our little friends really want is to take from the flowers they have evolved to eat from. Flowers like Primrose, Bluebells,

Daffodils and honeysuckle are just a few flowers that are native to the UK. Herbs like wild garlic are also very beneficial to our bees. This spring, try planting some native wildflowers to give the bees a helping hand.

There you have it, 5 bee-friendly plants you can introduce into your garden this spring. By adding just one of these plants to your garden, you could do an immeasurable amount of good to help your local bee population. It might not seem like much, but adding bee-friendly plants to your garden will truly help our planet’s bees and will allow you to do your part for our world’s ecosystem.


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A Little bit of Networking 2018 Feb

We presented a “Petcha-Cutcha” at the Hemel Hempstead Little Bit of Networking with our friends at My Mustard.


As Hosts for Wellingborough Dog Welfare Charity, we presented throughout the evening, including holding a charity auction and launching an appeal.


At our Launch event at Hilton Watford, the Mayor joined us in presenting to our network of professionals.


As Finalists in the Hertfordshire “Best Not-for-Profit 2018” we were recognised for our achievements.

GPN October 2018

Professionals meet regularly to discuss inclusive issues and how we can be more effective for our communities.

Social Saturday Logo small (3)

Members of Social Enterprise UK means we take part in a range of activities throughout the year, hi-lighting the work we do as a Not-for-Profit organisation.



1st August 2019 – New Registered Office: The Old Free School. George Street, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0PT.

21st September 2019 – Annual General Meeting & Away Day for Consultants.