Tuesday night’s Sydney Pride Centre annual general meeting (AGM) confirmed fears that the organisation had not escaped the financial struggles faced by other community organisations this year, with Pride reporting a $47,019 loss for 2002.

Pride co-president Chris Maynard cited a three-fold increase in public liability insurance costs for Pride’s annual New Year’s Eve party, professional indemnity insurance hikes and a series of disastrous losses from Pride’s Revolution parties as reasons for the organisation’s poor performance.

Maynard warned that the organisation’s current woes were likely to flow through into next year, admitting to the approximately 20 people gathered at the AGM that Pride was likely to have a $50,000 to $60,000 hole in its 2003 budget.

We have to be realistic. We have to look at declining numbers of people attending our New Year’s Eve parties and further increases in our public liability insurance, Maynard told Sydney Star Observer yesterday.

We need to find a means to fill that hole now and we were hoping Sleaze might do that for us, but at the moment that looks unlikely.

Pride assured members that the losses do not put the organisation at risk. Maynard asserted at the AGM that Pride currently hold $100,000 in a term deposit generated through successful NYE parties and $36,000 held in bond for their Surry Hills headquarters.

Pride also have a further $60,000 in a managed trust, allowing the organisation a $200,000 buffer zone.

We have good reserves, but we have to turn things around so that we don’t drain those reserves in future years, Maynard said.

However, the 2002 result marks the second loss in two years for Pride, with the organisation only marginally improving on last year’s loss of $48,575.

The Revolution parties have been cancelled after proving to be financially disastrous for the organisation. The first Revolution party, held last year, incurred a $25,000 loss, with the second party posting a relatively small $2,000 loss. However, the most recent Revolution party sealed the event’s fate after losing $10,000 for Pride.

All community organisations are facing a financial crisis at the present time and depending on dance party revenues is risky because crowds are declining. All community groups will have to find alternative revenue streams or they are all going to vanish.

Maynard said Pride’s key successes of 2002 include increasing the organisation’s public profile.

Two years ago people didn’t event know Pride existed. Now with the Mardi Gras incident, Pride has been at the forefront of most discussions on Mardi Gras, he said.

The AGM saw eight people accepted to the board of Pride. Maynard was re-elected as co-president of Pride, with Neal Craker re-elected as company secretary. Lou-Anne Lind will stay on at Pride -“ she is likely to be returned as co-president and also fill the role of treasurer.

Other returned board members are Colleen Naxon and Ken Radford. New board members so far include James Nelson, who has a background in marketing, and Theo Phillip, who will bring community service skills to Pride.

However, the current board set-up includes three vacancies for female board members. Maynard said Pride is now particularly seeking interested parties who carry skills in legal, sponsorship or membership and volunteer service areas.

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