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Saturday 16 July 2011

Interview with Julia Grant (video)

A 70-minute interview with legendary Manchester gay village business woman Julia Grant.

Julia Grant talks on video

A decade ago, Julia Grant was one of the best-known business owners in Manchester’s gay village and an outspoken voice in both the LGBT and mainstream media.

After Mardi Gras 1999 raised nothing at all for good causes, she ran the successful and free-to-enter GayFest for two years. But, some people — including local councillors and Manchester City Council — weren’t happy at all.

Unexpectedly, in 2002, Julia sold Hollywood Showbar and her other businesses and left. Despite rumours and malicious gossip since then, she didn’t speak out in public.

Now, in this exclusive interview Julia Grant reveals the LGBT history that you won’t see at the current Manchester Pride exhibition at The Lowry gallery. Plus she recalls the events that drove her out of the city.

This was recorded on 10 July 2011 during the Sparkle weekend.

GayFest 2001 fundraising (June 2017)

For years one of the malicious smears against Julia Grant around the gay village was that she “ran off with all the money raised from GayFest 2001.” A couple of years ago, PW and I set out to try and trace the GayFest money.

It wasn’t difficult. We were able to confirm with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation and George House Trust that they had received their funds almost immediately after the weekend. By that point Body Positive North West no longer existed. But we were able to see the accounts and the money from GayFest.

Between the three of them this was the vast majority of the money raised by GayFest 2001. It seems the remaining 12.25% went to an array of smaller organisations. It was near impossible to trace it more than a decade after the event. Small organisations and projects were not required to publish full audited accounts with Companies House or the Charity Commission.

That doesn’t mean anything was amiss and what we can say for sure is that 87.75% of money raised by GayFest 2001 reached the three major charities mentioned.

Julia Grant is a controversial character. But this was an unfair and wicked smear against her. Did any of these three major charities ever refute the malicious reputation she had been given? They had benefited enormously from the work of her and her team at GayFest.

Overall there can be no doubt that some people who wanted a different sort of event were happy to see Julia discredited.


Filed under: With video — GS @ 3:47 am
Friday 31 December 2010

A Freedom of Information request reveals how much Manchester City Council gives to, and charges, Manchester Pride

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

Year

Sponsorship provided by MCC which is ring-fenced for the Pride Parade only

Charges made and paid to MCC in respect of the overall Pride event including the Big Weekend

2005

£20,000

£13,600

2006

£25,000

£26,250

2007

£25,000

£32,620

2008

£27,500

£27,660

2009

£32,500
+ £1425 specific to a Heritage Trail project

£28,500

2010

£32,500

£33,300

The sums paid to Manchester City Council do not include charges made by Greater Manchester Waste (now known as ENVIRONMENTS) for the removal of rubbish which is between £6000 and £9000 per annum.

You can see full details of the FOI request here.

As you can see, even if we ignore the thousands of pounds that are charged for removal of rubbish, in four out of the last six years the City Council has clawed back in charges more than it gave the event.

It gives with one hand and gets the kudos for supporting the LGBT community, while taking with the other.

The City Council gave more than £2m towards the running costs of Manchester’s International Festival in 2007. The Festival was expected to bring in £32m of extra business to the city, while we’re told Pride brings in £22m of extra business some years.

And about £250,000 given for the Manchester Day Parade in 2011 (BBC).


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 7:42 am
Wednesday 17 June 2009

Council plans to build stainless steel and glass ‘safety fence’ along Canal Street

Perhaps you thought you’d seen every half-baked, damaging, badly-thought out planning decision that Manchester City Council could come up with or approve for the gay village area?

It allowed ugly modern buildings to go up next to Victorian warehouses on Canal Street, replaced the cast-iron bridge with a concrete one, gave the go ahead for a giant skyscraper that would overshadow the whole street and granted endless licences for bars. It allowed the gay village, which was once a safe space, to become a binge-drinking hellhole where people get murdered.

Well, if you thought you’d seen it all, think again, because the latest lunatic proposal will make you gasp… (more…)


Filed under: Buildings,Environment,History,LGBT,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 6:33 pm
Thursday 15 May 2008

Drinking rules can be ‘relaxed’ for footballs fans but not for gay events

For years the LGBT community has been told that one of the reasons why the gay village must be fenced off and ticket-only during Manchester Pride is due to the bylaws concerning public drinking.

Now, once again, that policy has been exposed for the fraud it always was.

(more…)


Filed under: LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 1:56 pm
Monday 31 March 2008

Mysteries of Manchester City Council: part one in a series of ten billion billion

Tenants of Manchester City Council have a 13-digit tenancy reference number. Until recently this could be keyed into the City Council website to make a rent payment or taken along to the payments counter at the town hall. However this was obviously MUCH too easy for everybody.

(more…)


Filed under: Manchester,Strange — GS @ 6:32 pm
Thursday 13 September 2007

Save Manchester’s Lesbian and Gay Centre and community groups

Just as Manchester Pride was about to start it emerged that Manchester City Council was apparently making plans to close down the Lesbian and Gay Centre.

(more…)


Filed under: LGBT,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 1:30 am
Tuesday 21 August 2007

Caribbean Carnival targeted with policing costs

Since 2004 Manchester has had two Caribbean Carnivals. The one in July that has run for decades is now ignored by Manchester City Council. Go to the Council information centre and they will actually deny that there are two Caribbean Carnivals in Manchester each year.

(more…)


Filed under: Manchester — GS @ 2:49 am
 
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