Manchester Pride delays release of charity figure following protest (video)

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“Manchester Pride you’re a disgrace, come down here and show your face!” This was the chant on Monday lunchtime (11 Nov) on Portland Street.

About 20 members of the LGBT community gathered to demand answers from Manchester Pride, whose offices are on the ninth floor of the Manchester One tower.

Despite a range of longstanding campaign issues about fences, exclusion and ticket prices, the most pressing concern on this occasion was the money raised from last summer’s Manchester Pride. The organisation is a registered charity

Tony Cooper, the Manager of Via and a former Deputy Chair of the Village Business Association is one of the business people who expected a fundraising total to be announced last Friday, but it never came.

He wasn’t at the protest, but blasted Pride in a public statement last week, writing “I love Manchester Pride and have attended every one but what I am hearing and seeing now is beyond worrying.”

Over the weekend rumours swirled that, despite the usual near £1 million income, the charity money had hit rock bottom. Somewhere in the region of £20,000 to £29,000. The lowest amount since the event was a jumble sale on the cobbles of Canal Street more than 20 years ago, if true. And protest plans were drawn up.

While local radio reporters conducted interviews among the protesters, village stalwart Julia Grant ‘phoned the Pride office. But the staff weren’t answering and she was directed straight to voicemail. She left a message and later said she was “disgusted.”

“At the end of the day they’re working for the community running Pride. We’ve asked how much was raised. They’re just making it more and more awkward for themselves.”

After an hour, the protesters walked the short distance to the town hall. Finding Albert Square fenced off as the Christmas market was put in place, they decided to occupy the reception area.

One banner that was waved carried the message “our Pride charity is not your tourist cash cow.” A reference to claims published by Manchester Council that Pride generates up to £22 million of economic benefit for the city each year.

The Council’s grant to Pride has been cut to just over £11,000 — about one third of what it used to be. Inevitably campaigners point to the £425,000 that the Council paid towards a brief Alicia Keys concert in 2012.

Later, Manchester Pride announced that the charity amount now won’t be made public until December. But will the gay community be willing be wait that long?

Thanks to photographer Paul Jones for the black and white photo included in the video. You can see more of his work on Flickr.

Sign the petition

Board of Manchester Pride, Manchester City Council & Manchester Police: We the undersigned demand a public meeting over the conduct and future of Manchester Pride

Technical: Panasonic HDC-SD80 camcorder, edited with Sony Vegas Pro 10, encoded with XMediaRecode and MetaDataMover.

 

4 Comments

  • Antony says:

    Hi,

    Has Manchester Pride released the figure yet?

    I have read on their site that John Stewart the Chief Executive has suddenly stepped down. Do you think this might have something to do with it?

    A x

  • GS says:

    g7uk.com replies:

    No they haven’t announced a figure and I understand the gay businesses are angry because they were told to expect it on Friday 8 November. Pride denies that was ever promised, but I understand it’s mentioned in the minutes of a meeting between the Village Business Association and Pride. Now there’s the suggestion the figure may be released in December.

    There are various questions that need to be answered even when a figure is announced. There is an amount of around £11,000 that was held over from the charity fund in a previous year (originally destined to pay for decorative arches on Canal Street). We want to know that amount isn’t included in any figure announced as “2013 fundraising”.

    Because of what they did last year it will be hard to take their word on anything without seeing the accounts. Those aren’t usually published until around July the following year. Again, in the climate of panic that seemed to exist a few weeks ago, the suggestion was the year ending 2013 accounts would be out by now, but they didn’t appear.

    In December 2012 a charity fund of £52,000 was announced and it wasn’t until we saw the accounts the following summer that it became clear that only £36,166 of that had been raised in the financial year. The rest came out of reserves held over from previous years.

    Apparently the same thing was done in what was described as their 21st year — 2011. In a press release Pride stated that 2011 fundraising had taken them over the £1 million threshold since 2003. We now understand this was untrue and the amount was topped up to £1 million from reserves to create some good PR.

    It isn’t clear why the Chief Executive stood down and initially we were afraid he was being made a scapegoat. But we believe it may be because various goals weren’t met. Those being to reduce costs, bring in more sponsorship and increase the charity amount.

  • Antony says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply. It’s interesting that apparently they’ve now released the figure £34,000. But someone (won’t mention my source) said that £26,000 had been raised, so perhaps the £8,000 difference will have come out of the previous year(s) fund.

    Still, I think £34K is far too small an amount, especially when you consider it is one of the most popular, well attended and supposedly successful prides in the country.

    A x

  • geoff says:

    This was copied from the M.E.N paper : http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchester-pride-festival-announces-huge-6329632

    £34.0000 {THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND} Was raised during the “Big weekend”
    Not a huge amount but its better than a big fat zero.

    Maybe a new {another !} look at the type of events/acts booked over the weekend may help.
    Look back almost 20 years when The Village charity were asked to organise and co-oridinate it. That year {1997} £100,k + was raised and that after ALL expenses had been honoured.

 

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