Throughout June, Sparsholt College Group (Including Andover College and University Centre Sparsholt) will be celebrating lesbian, gay, bi, trans, non-binary and queer (LGBTQ+) culture and experiences with a series of activities and events kicked off with the second annual Pride Parade on the Sparsholt College Campus.  

Pride Month represents an opportunity for the Sparsholt College Group community to reflect on all the ways they can contribute to creating a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment for all LGBTQ+ students and employees. 

The parade was a great success and hosted a number of floats representing the different subject areas taught at Sparsholt College including Animal Management, Foundation Studies, Arboriculture and Forestry, Land & Wildlife, Horticulture, Sport, Outdoor Adventure & Uniformed Protective Services, Agriculture, Motor Vehicle and Equine Studies all with a different creative theme and message. The Campus Wellbeing Team also got into the spirit of the day and created a very colourful float entry.  

After deliberations and extensive judging from a staff panel, the Agriculture Department were declared overall winners.  Their design celebrated the growth in the LGBTQ+ farming and engineering community in recent years, thanks to LGBTQ+ allies, increasing visibility and awareness. 

LGBTQ+ farmers often have very unique experiences where they have been faced with social pressures and discrimination that other farmers may not relate to. As the new generation of young farmers, Sparsholt students are excited to be allies to this community; a part of history through embracing difference and celebrating the unique stories of all farmers. 

Second place was awarded to the Horticulture, Arboriculture and Forestry departments. Their design celebrated individualism and differences within their industries. Promoting Sustainability and Biodiversity is also at the forefront of what they do, and they were delighted to use this opportunity to showcase their brand new Valtra tractor and Loader Trailer with a selection of sustainably sourced timber, painted in environmentally friendly marker paint.  

Third Place was awarded to the Animal Management Department, who took inspiration from the animal kingdom. Animals in nature often show us that diversity is a strength and that working together is the key to survival. The Animal Management students presented the different and diverse species of animals in the wild, each one representing a unique identity and expression, making our community within Animal Management a magnificent tapestry of love and acceptance. 

The Sustainability Prize was awarded to the Equine department. Their float represented the inclusivity of the Equine industry including those from the LGBTQ+ community all over the world. They featured some prominent figures from the Equine world who also belong to the LGBTQ+ community who have forged successful careers including the legendary Claire Balding, the hugely successful race jockey Jack Deurn and one of the best dressage riders in the world, Carl Hester.  

The day also included a fantastic dance demonstration to open the parade by Andover College Dance students, face painting, crafting, temporary tattoos and stalls from both the library promoting interesting literature and the students from the LGBTQ+ Society which provided useful resources on LGBTQ+ History and how to be a good ally. The parade also had representatives from Hampshire Police on behalf of LAGLO (Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers), Solent Mind, Solent Sexual Health Services and Breakout Youth who had a variety of goodies to give out.  

Liz Wilson, Assistant Principal Student Experience, said: “It was lovely to have so much support for the event from both staff and students. For some young people, further and higher education is often the first place they can be themselves and we are committed to promoting inclusion and equality among our students, staff and the wider SCG community.”  

Sparsholt College, nestled in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, is a leading land-based College, with an unrivalled reputation for the delivery of land, animal and environment courses. Applications are still open for September 2023. Apply now