Bedecked in an amethyst pendant with her puppy companion by her side, Pippa Moyle is perhaps not what you would expect from a thirty-something-year-old entrepreneur and self described ‘global girl gang leader’, writes Lydia Wilkins.
The social entrepreneur had founded Brighton Girl in 2017, a city part of a larger organisation she founded a year later called The City Girl Network. Now covering 20 cities worldwide, the idea is to bring young women together, such as for social gatherings, to co-curate the magazine for each branch, and more. Now experiencing something of a revival in membership, thanks in part due to the pandemic and associated restrictions, Moyle will be heading up the network’s first festival later this year, with plans for expansion afterwards.
“I realised that we’ve got about 23,000 women in Brighton Girl which is amazing, and there’s sort of no platform big enough to celebrate all of the different things that make a Brighton Girl a Brighton Girl.” said Pippa, pointing out that although the city has events such as Brighton Fringe and The Great Escape, there is a lack of an event for women specifically.
When asked about the concept, Pippa said: “So we’re looking at a wellbeing section, a careers [section], sex and relationships, sports as well,” with the intention that this will be a diverse event in representing all women and what they want to do. In essence, the concept and the programme of events is 'everything that makes you as a Brighton Girl'.
"We will be hosting lots of different mini events in lots of different venues across the city,” said Pippa, in collaboration with venues that are celebratory of women. Her focus is also on accessibility, having expressed the festival’s venue focus to also be on “accessibility as much as humanely possible.”
Rachael Mole, a previous associate of The City Girl Network and now the CEO of magazine Sick In The City (SIC), has also provided guidance in making events accessible for all: “I shout to the heavens about SIC,” said Pippa, while also saying 'she’s taught me a lot'. The festival intends to put money in the right pockets of businesses who do right in terms of accessibility she said, while also acknowledging she is able-bodied and takes her cues from disabled individuals around here.
When it comes to panel events, there will be discussions on Women In Music, Disabillities In The Workplace, Racial Diversity In The Workplace, and more. Lots of discussions to come, says Pippa, as well as gigs and wellness events including yoga and pottery.
Lockdown, contrary to other places, had something of a positive impact across The City Girl Network when it came to membership; Pippa heard the calls for solidarity and community at a time of mass isolation. More cities joined the network, doubling the number of members to around 60,000. On London joining the roster, Pippa said how 'that was basically born from lockdown', with groups holding multiple online events to connect people.
While in lockdown issues such as domestic abuse and sexual violence had become something of a national flashpoint, which was also reflected in the activities of The Brighton Girl Network. “A lot of my time was spent helping women in domestic violence/sexual violence situations," said Pippa, including supporting women when they had to contact the police.
A lot of Pippa’s time was spent on safeguarding, like trying to ensure emergency housing for people was safe. This is also reflected in the choice of venues for The Brighton Girl Festival, ensuring that there will be appropriate spaces and support for those who need it.
In turning to look at the future, Pippa has been thinking about what comes next for the festival, in particular wanting 'next level events', and expansion to encompass Bristol, and Manchester is next on her list. For now, though, she will be focusing on opportunities for fun things that accommodate all who want to take part.
The Brighton Girl Festival is expected to take place from the middle to the end of September this year. For more information, click here.