Overwhelming support for Europe’s first permanent rainbow crossing in Rural Devon

Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 13:45

Devon-based community organisation Proud2Be Project, have received widespread support for plans to install Europe’s first permanent rainbow crossing in the Rural Town of Totnes, Devon.

According to the Proud2Be website: “The crossing will be a way of celebrating diversity in Totnes and raising awareness about the issues still faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or trans+ (LGBT+) community, all over the world.”

Amongst the many who have pledged their support for the crossing, one supporter said: “Fantastic visual way to show solidarity & equality with LGBT population of Devon and further.”

In February, the group received an email from a Dementia Friend champion who was concerned that the crossing would impact negatively on people with Dementia in the Town. Proud2Be contacted Professor Jane Andrews FRCN Professor of Dementia Studies at the University of Stirling for her expert opinion on the matter.

She said: “If there is no crossing there right now, what you are doing is intended to be an improvement, if it is true what you say about improving safety at the chosen junction.  People with dementia might not recognize it as a safe crossing place, but that is no worse than the current position.

DSDC always advises changing as little as possible in the environment of people with dementia, but we mean in their house and immediate environment, because there is evidence that this helps them.  We would never ask councils to preserve their town in historic form for the sake of the minority with dementia who might find change challenging.”

Proud2Be co-founder, Mat said: "We are thankful to Professor June Andrews for her expert opinion on the matter, as we would not want the crossing to impinge on anybody's quality of life or experience of Totnes. We are also working closely with Totnes Town Council and other community groups; to ensure that Europe's first permanent rainbow crossing can be enjoyed by the whole community.”

Last year, Proud2Be laid down a temporary crossing outside St Mary's Church in the High Street, in the lead up to the second-ever Pride event in Totnes.

Although other cities, including London, Brighton and Sydney, have had temporary multicoloured crossings, if plans are approved, Totnes will be the first in Europe to make it permanent, with Vancouver in Canada already having a permanent rainbow crossing.

Jon Price, who set up Proud2Be with his twin brother Mat, said: “We have had a hugely positive response from the local and national press and the local LGBT and wider community have also been hugely supportive and excited by the proposal.”

The proposed location of the courtesy crossing is on either side of The Wills Memorial on The Plains in Totnes.

Town Coucillor Carol Wellwood said she believed the ideal place was at the Wills Memorial. She said: ‘If we had a rainbow crossing on either side of the memorial it would help safety, encourage diversity and give people a real sense of fun.’

Proud2Be has successfully obtained support from the town council and the Traffic & Transport Forum and in the next couple of weeks will approach Devon County Council with a proposal, asking for permission to proceed.

Proud2Be are inviting those people who support their plans for a permanent rainbow crossing in Totnes to pledge their support via their website. More information about the campaign and to pledge your support please enter your details HERE.

Further information about Proud2Be Project can be found at www.proud2beproject.org


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