A WHITEHAVEN museum is celebrating the heritage of the areas LGBTQ community with a new festival.

The Beacon Museum’s LGBTQ Festival, which takes place on February 23 and 24, will feature seminars, film, crafts and stalls promoting inclusivity and awareness.

The free event is being held during LGBT History Month, the theme of which this year is peace, reconciliation and activism. It has been organised in collaboration between the museum, Copeland council and Always Another Way, Cumbria Ltd.

Jo Haigh, managing director of Always Another Way said: "It’s great for us to be able to help out with such an event. Two-and-a-half years ago, we set up to provide LGBTQ+ support for young people and families. There was nothing locally between Barrow and Carlisle in relation to support, information or events. Now we get the chance to broaden the options, bring information and enjoy a celebration of difference; after all, the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same. Things have come a long way, but we’ve still a long way to go to simply be ourselves."

Elizabeth Kwasnik, director at The Beacon Museum, said: "This is the first time The Beacon Museum has participated in this national movement and we are indebted to Jo and her colleagues for their advice and guidance. This will be an event for everyone; you do not have to be LGBTQ to come along, so please do join in."

The event also includes an advanced screening of Invisible Women, a short story that recently opened the Manchester Pride Festival, and described by producer Joe Ingham as a "genuinely revelatory story filled with hope, optimism and triumph."

All of the events are free and many are family friendly, however a number have age restrictions in place. For more information, and for a full itinerary, visit www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk or www.alwaysanotherway.co.uk.