Almost all charities and fundraising events come from humble beginnings and most share a common link, in that the reason they started was through necessity and the fact that someone or a community needed help. Our story is no different. READ MORE
Starting life as a simple fundraiser, activities marking LGBT+ life in Manchester began as a ‘bring and buy sale’ organised by a few bars and members of the gay community on an August bank holiday weekend. Their goal was to raise some much-needed money for AIDS organisations in the city who were dealing with the beginning of the epidemic.
The following year a second fundraiser took place, again with a focus on raising essential funds to assist AIDS services in local hospitals and to provide some comfort and support to visiting family and friends. These first events were taking place in a backdrop of open hostility to the gay community but were vital.
By the early 90s, the annual event began to grow and became known as Mardi Gras. Bars organised performers to appear and various activities took place over the weekend, including a sports day and a march. The weekend closed with a firework display but the event was still driven by the need to raise money.
Mardi Gras grew throughout the 90s, eventually becoming GayFest in the 00s then reverting back to Mardi Gras. In 2003, Manchester hosted EuroPride, a ten-day event of music, sport and culture culminating in the August bank holiday ticketed event “The Big Weekend”. A large part of Europride was, of course, the parade. While a colourful procession, at its heart, the parade has always been a political march for LGBT+ equality. As Europride’s Big Weekend closed, it was announced by the organisers that it was to become ‘Manchester Pride’.
Manchester Pride continued to organise “The Big Weekend” fundraising event and by 2007, became a registered charity. Over ten years later, we continue to raise funds through the organising of events, but no longer just in August.
We deliver an annual programme of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) events in Greater Manchester. This includes; the Manchester Pride Spring Benefit, our year-round calendar of cultural events, Superbia and the flagship Manchester Pride Festival.
As a grant-giving charity, we create fundraising opportunities through these events and have raised over £1.5 million since achieving charity status.