A FOUNDER of the UK’s largest national LGBT+ charity and member of the House of Lords will head to the North East later this month to open a trailblazing media centre.

Stonehills, at Shields Road, Pelaw has been given new life to become the Pride Media Centre, the UK’s first LGBT+ business and media hub.

And The Rt Hon. The Lord Michael Cashman CBE, one of the founding members of Stonewall and a patron of both LGBT Labour and London-based HIV charity, The Food Chain, will open the building at the official launch on Friday 31 May.

The LGBT+ activist made history in 1987, taking part in the first gay kiss on mainstream British television in his role as Colin Russell on EastEnders.

He will also be joined by representatives from Gateshead Council, which has supported the creation of the complex.

A number of businesses have set up in the centre’s 16 offices, including not-for-profit organisation, Pride Community Network, North East station, Pride Radio 89.2 fm and Pride World Radio, which broadcasts online to around 125 countries.

Lord Cashman said: “30 years after a small group of us came together to found the Stonewall group to fight for legal equality and social justice for LGBT people I couldn’t be prouder than to be using a pair of scissors, not to cut up hate mail, but to cut the ribbon and open this brilliant, innovative, and welcoming Pride Media Centre.”

The hub will also be the home of newly launched online television station, Out and Proud TV, and it will provide a range of support and opportunities to the LGBT+ community and their allies, including outreach programmes designed to reach isolated members of the LGBT+ community.

Peter Darrant, of Pride World Media, a multi-channel LGBT broadcaster which includes Pride Radio and Pride World Radio, said: “We are delighted to welcome Lord Michael Cashman to launch the Pride Media Centre, which is the first of its kind in the UK.

“So much hard work, time and effort has gone into this project and it’s so rewarding to see it all pay off.

“The complex has become a home to a diverse range of businesses and this means it is able to offer a far-reaching set of services and opportunities that will make a real difference for the LGBT+ community and its allies.”