September brings many annual rituals, and many local cities and towns are again bracing themselves for a new influx of University Students.
It’s that time of year again – parents break into empty nest syndrome, Tesco runs out of Baked Beans and Pot Noodles, and the fountains in the centre of Bristol creak under mountains of foam after some jolly soul has emptied washing-up liquid down the spout.
That’s right, Bristol, Bath and the surrounding areas get ready to welcome an influx of students to land of Academia in the South West , namely Bristol University, University of the West of England (UWE), Bath Spa Uni and Bath University.
Starting University can be a daunting time for young people, many leaving their parent’s home for the first time, and additionally leaving their friends too, it can initially be a shock of being independent, and also for some, the opportunity to fully embrace their sexuality in more metropolitan surroundings and many of our local Universities have LGBT societies which can provide safe spaces for members to socialise, network and get support and advice.
The University of Bristol, University of West of England (UWE), Bath Spa University and Bath University all have active LGBT societies and many are organising events to welcome both new students, and those returnee’s.
The Bristol Universities group has three events lined up. A Returner’s event at the QueenShilling on Tuesday 23rd September, A Welcome Coffee Meet at Costa Coffee in Whiteladies Road on Saturday 27th September, and a Fresher’s Sharpie Party at the Queenshilling on Tuesday 30th September – which is being held jointly with OUT-UWE, the LGBT group from UWE.
OutUWE is the LGBT group for students attending the University of the West of England. They generally meet every Wednesday, and deal with issues that affect LGBT students directly and indirectly as well as generally raising awareness with events such as LGBT History Month (February), Bristol Pride and our newly established Love Music Hate Homophobia event. UWE was also placed 35th in this year’s Stonewall Top 100 Employers list.
The University of Bath’s LGBT group meets every Thursday at 7pm and they do our best to keep up an active social schedule for our members. Our regular socials involve a trek down to town after each meeting to one of the gay pubs/clubs for drinks, Sunday roasts and monthly film nights. In addition, we organise LGBT Cafe events, a bookclub, socials with other local LGBT groups, and other less frequent events, such as ice-skating and bowling.
So, you’ve arrived and are wondering what the west country is all about ? Doubtless you’ll have heard what a great area this is for music, clubbing, boozing and shopping, but no doubt you’ll want to explore what Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire has to offer in the way of a Gay scene…
Well, You’ve made the first correct move, you’ve found PrideWest (that’s right – bookmark us now, you’ll want to come back later!) this is your handy website for finding out about all things “LGBT” in the area.
We cover local news stories that concern the gay community from all angles – social, political and the things that matter to you most – always guaranteed to strike up a healthy debate.
PrideWest is also the home to a comprehensive events guide. We scour all the listings to let you know what’s going on where and when in the local LGBT venues. We even give you door to door directions – what bus to catch and where to get off.
There are venues catering for all tastes, with everything from women-only socials through to specialist fetish club nights; from traditional boozers with cabaret and karaoke through to something geared more towards the younger student-age population.
We’ve everything from social and sports groups – with South West’s only inclusive Rugby Football Union team, the Bristol Bisons – to karaoke and cabaret. Cycle Out Bristol host monthly bike rides around both the city and surrounding countryside and most of the UK’s gay sporting associations, including GLUG – the Gay and Lesbian Underwater Group – and the Gay Outdoor Club, have local representatives.
Bristol has has a vibrant and thriving gay community which has grown over the recent years, which has been echoed across the whole of the West Country, with Pride Events not only taking place in Bristol, but Swindon too.
Bristol’s gay scene remains ever evolving with some of the venues undergoing refurbishments and changes of name and/or management, but you’ll find a nice selection of bars either in “The Village” located in the Old Market area of the city – handy for Cabot Circus – or “The Strip” located behind the area known as ‘The Centre’ and Bristol Hippodrome.
Some may find the move a bit too much, or even be taking the first steps to accepting their sexuality, we also offer links to local support groups and helplines.
For those students in Wiltshire or Somerset, we also have dedicated sections to those areas – feel free to use the menu at the top of this page, or the search box to find out all about LGBT life in the area.
Meanwhile, have fun, and don’t forget to do just a bit of studying while you’re here!