What is Manchester Pride?
Manchester Pride is a charity which creates platforms for queer visibility, helps to bring people together to celebrate LGBTQ+ life and campaigns for inclusion and equality across Greater Manchester.
We have four big goals.
- Campaign for the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality at home and abroad. To educate the people of Greater Manchester and beyond to recognise, understand and challenge discrimination against all LGBTQ+ people.
- To stage an annual world class pride celebration of LGBTQ+ life in Greater Manchester. This is called the Manchester Pride Festival which includes things like the Parade, Candlelit Vigil, Gay Village Party and MCR Pride Live. Manchester Pride Festival is of a significant size and scale now, e.g. in 2019 more than 60,000 tickets were sold to MCR Pride Live alone.
- Raise awareness and support for LGBTQ+ mental health. To increase the levels of social engagement and wellbeing by celebrating cultural activities for, by and with LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester and to work with organisations to improve the mental health of LGBTQ+ people.
How does Manchester Pride operate?
- Make packages of support, including grants, available for LGBTQ+ community groups, organisations, events and causes in Greater Manchester.
Manchester Pride is a charity. Like many charities we get our income from a variety of sources, including donations, some grants, and through the delivery of Manchester Pride Festival.
Manchester Pride Festival meets a key charitable objective and is a celebration of LGBTQ+ life in Greater Manchester and exists to campaign for greater LGBTQ+ equality.
In order to do this, we have a subsidiary trading company which is called Manchester Pride Events Ltd. It is a not-for-profit company. This company is registered with Companies House, is fully audited and is what’s called a wholly owned subsidiary. That means any surplus generated by the company is given directly to the charity which owns it.
Manchester Pride Events Ltd organises the Manchester Pride Festival for the charity. All staff work for the charity to deliver its charitable goals.
It’s common for charities to have trading companies which generate income (it’s how many of the charity shops you see on the high street operate). In the case of Manchester Pride, our trading company doesn’t run shops, it runs a four day festival celebrating LGBTQ+ life.
Manchester Pride Festival is our biggest source of income which supports us to deliver all of our other charitable objectives. Where does Manchester Pride get its income from?
The charity gets its income from a variety of sources including direct donations and some grants. However, the main source of income to enable us to deliver our charitable objectives comes from its not-for-profit trading company, Manchester Pride Events Ltd, which organises the Manchester Pride Festival. Does Manchester Pride make a profit?
Manchester Pride is a charity and has no shareholders. It generates its income in a variety of ways including donations and income gifted to it from the surplus generated by its wholly owned and not-for-profit trading company Manchester Pride Events Ltd. Manchester Pride Events Limited delivers Manchester Pride Festival.
All income generated by the charity is retained by the charity to help it deliver its charitable objectives.
Alongside funding LGBTQ+ causes across Greater Manchester, Manchester Pride delivers its own projects and initiatives to enhance the lives of LGBTQ+ people. Every penny we raise is reinvested into supporting LGBTQ+ communities, celebrating LGBTQ+ life and campaigning for the further advancement of LGBTQ+ equality. What other projects and initiatives does Manchester Pride deliver?
In addition to the delivery of Manchester Pride Festival, the charity also delivers the below;
Grassroots Community Grant programme and Superbia Grants programme, available for LGBTQ+ groups, organisations, projects, initiatives, LGBTQ+ artists and causes across Greater Manchester.
The All Equals Charter, to create a consistent approach to inclusion across the board so that all LGBTQ+ people have equal opportunities.
Superbia, our year round calendar of culture, designed to support, curate, fund and promote LGBTQ+ events throughout Greater Manchester.
We also deliver a year round programme of projects to support LGBTQ+ people and communities including our Youth Pride MCR and Skill Share workshops. When people donate to Manchester Pride, where does the money go?
When people give us a direct donation (by that we mean a donation of money they’ve raised or money put in a donation box) that money is always redistributed to our charity partners and to our grassroots community groups through our grant distribution programme. It does not go to cover the running costs of the charity. Where can I see the Manchester Pride accounts?
Each year our accounts are independently audited and filed with Companies House and The Charity Commission. Each year our auditors have also given us a clean bill of health for how the charity manages its finances. You can see our 2019 accounts here.
Our 2020 accounts will be filed by the 30th September 2021. Why does Manchester Pride have a CEO?
At the heart of Manchester Pride is the Manchester Pride Festival. The delivery of a successful festival remains the main income source for the charity, without which it could not meet its charitable goals and objectives.
The trustees employ a full-time Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as the charity, and the financial and operational risk associated with the delivery of its festival are too great for volunteer trustees to manage on a day-to-day basis. How do you work out how many staff to employ?
Staffing levels are agreed by the CEO and trustees based on a three-year plan and financial projections.
In any given financial year, we have a small team of full-time employees. That team then expands as expert temporary staff are brought onboard to help with the delivery of Manchester Pride Festival. How do you decide what to pay your employees?
The trustees of Manchester Pride set the pay and reward policy for the team, including the CEO. In doing so, they seek to meet our obligations as a charity with the desire to be a great place to work which attracts and retains talented, passionate people who want to make a difference.
The main source of income for the charity comes from the successful delivery of the Manchester Pride Festival.
Given this, the remuneration of our team is benchmarked to charities and National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Also our team (and our CEO in particular) is charged with overseeing a complex not-for-profit business too and you have to pay for those skills at market rates.
Neither the CEO, nor any of the staff team, are provided with company cars or have been bought a car. Where do your trustees come from?
We currently have 11 trustees. We are lucky to have trustees from different backgrounds, political persuasions, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities.
Trustees serve for a three-year term with the option to have that term renewed once. Trustees are recruited through an open selection process, with the roles being open to anyone and advertised appropriately.
The trustees receive no pay or monetary benefits or have any financial links to the charity nor any vested interests in its operations. Manchester Pride and COVID-19 Has Manchester Pride been impacted by the pandemic?
The COVID-19 Pandemic had a significant impact on the charitable sector and, unfortunately, it has impacted us too.
The charity’s main source of income comes from the Manchester Pride Festival and is delivered by our not-for-profit trading company, Manchester Pride Events Ltd.
As a physical festival wasn’t possible in 2020, our turnover dropped by 85% between 2019 and 2020.
We were forced to make difficult decisions which included using all our financial reserves and making significant redundancies. Has Manchester Pride received any help during COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, we received money from The Culture Recovery Fund. This is a government grant supplied through Arts Council England to sustain cultural organisations and charities which had experienced significant losses due to the pandemic. The parameters of how the grant is spent and used are strictly defined and cannot be used for other than to sustain the organisation's operations and it safeguards our charity if we were to face another year without the Manchester Pride Festival. It cannot be used to fund other charities or organisations, for example.
We also applied for and received a CBILS loan, which were preferential rate commercial loans given out by the government. We took this loan to cover our commercial income gaps in the short term but as a commitment to protecting our future charitable impacts in the longer-term. And, we placed some of our staff on furlough, once the government introduced this scheme. The Manchester Pride Festival How does the Manchester Pride Festival operate?
Since 2018, the Portland Street Strategic Regeneration Framework meant that is was no longer viable to deliver the Manchester Pride Festival in the Gay Village alone. It is now a city-wide celebration of LGBTQ+ life.
Our Festival attendees come to the event for many different reasons and they have a choice about how they attend the Festival and what they pay for. They can choose to attend MCR Pride Live allowing those in our community who particularly value a shared live event experience to do so. They can choose to attend the Gay Village Party only or they can choose to attend the many free events over the weekend including the Candlelit Vigil, Superbia Weekend, Youth Pride MCR, Family Pride MCR and (usually) the Manchester Pride Parade. This year, due to the continuing pandemic, we are delivering five smaller protest marches instead.
By attracting larger named artists to our event stage, something our attendees tell us consistently they want, MCR Pride Live significantly subsidies the cost of delivering the Gay Village Party and pays for the many free to attend events including Youth Pride MCR, the Candlelit Vigil, Family Pride MCR, the Superbia Weekend and usually the Manchester Pride Parade. What benefit does Manchester Pride Festival bring?
It provides a very visible way for queer people to be out and proud in Manchester. Whether your view of pride is a protest or party (or both), the Festival provides numerous ways you can get involved. It also provides a platform for the community to be able to fundraise for good causes.
Some other benefits that you might not be aware of:
- It’s the only UK pride festival to have a dedicated festival for young people (Youth Pride MCR).
- We create opportunities for LGBTQ+ people and allies to gain skills. Each year we train more than 250 volunteers to be part in the festival.
- We provide a platform for LGBTQ+ artists from Greater Manchester – giving them access to a large audience and the oxygen of publicity.
- We procure services and supplies from LGBTQ+ owned business across the city-region.
Manchester Pride Festival makes a £34 million impact and contribution to the economy of the city of Manchester. The Manchester Pride Parade is an important part of the Festival. Can you tell me about how it will operate in 2021?
The Manchester Pride Parade has become one of Manchester City Centres biggest events, attracting over a quarter of a million spectators to the streets to cheer on the organisations marching for equality. Not only are the crowds vast, over 200 organisations and 14,000 people proudly displayed their support to LGBTQ+ issues and equality by marching through the streets of Manchester City Centre.
However, like all other large scale pride events and the Notting Hill Carnival, because we are in the midst of a pandemic it would be socially irresponsible and a risk to public health to deliver a large scale event that does not allow us to check the COVID status of the attendees. We have a responsibility to deliver the safest event possible during the pandemic.
We believe that protest is a vital part of all pride gatherings so including the opportunity to protest in the 2021 Manchester Pride Festival remains a priority. Therefore, we are delivering six Equality Marches over the weekend. We’re inviting LGBTQ+ organisations and members of the community to take part and to protest. This will also allow us to check the COVID status to safeguard all of those participating.
As a ticketed event, the rest of the Manchester Pride Festival allows us to check the COVID status of individuals in attendance as advised by the Public Health England. We are encouraging all ticket holders to declare COVID status by presenting an NHS COVID Pass when they exchange their ticket for a pledge-band. We will also be providing information and guidance ahead of the Festival about how this will happen in practice. Grant Funding Can you tell me what’s happening regarding your funding of the LGBT Foundation and George House Trust?
We are changing how we fund both organisations; we aren’t walking away from them.
Let us explain. Traditionally, 25% of Manchester Pride’s surplus has gone to the LGBT Foundation to support the Condom and Lube Scheme and 25% to the George House Trust Welfare Fund.
In 2021, despite being unable to deliver a physical festival in 2020, we still gave both organisations £10,000 each. However, in the last 18 months our stakeholder surveys and community engagement told us overwhelmingly that they would like us to focus our grant funding on mental health and wellbeing initiatives. The pandemic has had wide-ranging and profound effects on the lives of LGBTQ+ people in areas such as mental health, isolation, eating disorders, substance misuse, access to healthcare and access to support. Therefore, Manchester Pride is adapting how it distributes grants to our charity partners to ensure we support our community as its needs change, but sexual health will continue to be a priority.
We are also further increasing the transparency of our grants programme and this includes creating clearer criteria, a fully accessible application process and requesting better monitoring and evaluation reports from our grant recipients so we can better communicate to our donors the impacts of their fundraising.
We will continue to work closely with LGBT Foundation and George House Trust on joint initiatives that focus on sexual health and now also on mental health and wellbeing initiatives. All three Charities have some innovative and fresh ideas and we will work together in partnership to fund and deliver them together.
On 12th August 2021 we met with Manchester City Council, LGBT Foundation and George House Trust to come together and discuss our funding arrangements. Manchester City Council has announced that we will be meeting again after the festival and will be working with Manchester City Council and LGBT Foundation on ways to ensure the continued survival of the free condom and lube distribution scheme. And, all three charities will be working together to explore how Manchester Pride can continue to support and fund the work of the other two charities on an ongoing basis. Is it true that Manchester Pride last paid GHT and LGBT Foundation in 2018?
This is not true. Although the pandemic had a substantial impact on Manchester Pride, this year, despite being unable to deliver a physical festival in 2020, we still gave both organisations £10,000 each. Will Manchester Pride continue to fund grassroots organisations?
Yes absolutely. As we have been unable to fundraise during the pandemic, we had to temporarily pause our grassroots Community Grants Programme since 2020. However, it will be restarting in September after the Manchester Pride Festival 2021.
Local LGBTQ+ grassroots community groups provide vital support and opportunities for our communities. We provide financial and practical support to empower groups and help them flourish. From September 2021 they will once again be able to apply for grant support through a simple, transparent application process. Applications will be reviewed and approved by a panel of trustees and members of our community. What has Manchester Pride learnt regarding the news about its recent funding announcements?
We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who shared their views recently.
On 12th August 2021 Manchester Pride agreed to conduct a transparent review during autumn taking views from a wide-reaching range of stakeholders and the community about the future direction of the Festival. The result will be published along with an action plan.
We always conduct a review of the charity each autumn, but this years’ will be bigger and further reaching. This will give everyone the opportunity to tell us what you’d like to see from us in the future including the work we do, how we deliver the festival and how we support LGBTQ+ communities across Greater Manchester.
We will post further details on the review and how you can be involved through our social media channels. We will also host an open event where we’ll share and discuss the findings in order that we can move forward with our communities taking the lead.