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Manchester Pride

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Manchester Pride
FormationFebruary 20, 1985; 39 years ago (1985-02-20)
Founded atManchester Gay Village
TypeNonprofit organisation
Registration no.Registered Charity 1117848
PurposeLGBTQ+, Human Rights, Activism
HeadquartersPiccadilly, City of Manchester
Board Chair
David McGovern
Vice Chair
Mick Lawlor
Mark Fletcher
Main organ
Board of Trustees
SubsidiariesManchester Pride Limited, Manchester Pride Events Limited
£3.2 million
Approx. 242
WebsiteManchester Pride

Manchester Pride is a charity that campaigns for LGBTQ+ equality across the United Kingdom, predominantly in Greater Manchester. The Charity offers dialogue, training, research and policy analysis, advocacy and outreach activities focusing on LGBTQ+ rights.

The Manchester Pride Festival is an annual event held on the August bank holiday weekend. It takes place in the Canal Street area, the city's gay village, and fringe locations around the city, while the parade occurs through Manchester city centre. The parade features various supporting organisations and charities and representative floats from the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester.

Manchester Pride's headquarters are in Piccadilly, Manchester City Centre. Manchester Pride had a total income of £3,238,817 in the financial year ending 31 December 2021, had 10 employees and used the services of 242 volunteers. Manchester Pride is regarded[by whom?] as one of the leading pride movements worldwide, often trialling new initiatives[citation needed]. It has sponsorships with large companies, such as Virgin Atlantic, TikTok, Starbucks, Marc Jacobs and L'Oreal.

The organisation is managed by a Board of Trustees who are, in turn, Directors of the subsidiary companies Manchester Pride Limited and Manchester Pride Events Limited.


The event commenced on August bank holiday 1985 in the gay village, with the support of new Labour Party councillors, elected 1984 who gave the gay community their support and appointed a Lesbian and Gay officer, a move inspired by Ken Livingstone.[1] By 1986 Manchester City Council had provided £1,700 in funding to hold an event at Oxford Street, the bars got together to raise money for AIDS organisations in the city with a lot of support from the gay community; it started as a very small but was the start of a more organised gay community, in a time of hostility from police. In 1989 events were for fund raising to provide furnishings for the ward at Monsall Hospital where people received treatment for HIV / AIDS, by 1991 the Village Charity was established and ran the festival then known as Manchester Mardi Gras, 'The Festival of Fun' it raised £15,000.[1][2] By this time it had expanded to include a full programme of activities from Friday to Monday with a market held in Sackville Park and a fireworks display, funds came from the North West Development Agency. By 1997 the event was notably popular with people of all backgrounds in society,[3] and by 2002 there were 100,000 in attendance.[1][4]

Since 2003 the gay village has been an enclosed event space across the Manchester Pride weekend, and a pledge-band is needed to access some programmed events and selected Village venues. The funds raised from the sale of pledge-bands helps Manchester Pride achieve its charitable objectives which includes celebrating LGBTQ+ life while providing a platform and employment for local LGBTQ+ people.

In 2003, Manchester hosted 'EuroPride'. The ten-day event consisted of sports, music, dance and other cultural activities which culminated in the August bank holiday event termed as 'The Big Weekend'. Later, Manchester Pride continued to organise 'The Big Weekend' and became a registered charity outfit in 2007 (charity number 1117848). Manchester Pride organises an annual program for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2013 the charity had loss of more than £16,000 and in 2014 Manchester Pride invited people from the LGBTQ+ community to help shape the way the organisation is run.[5] by 2016 the event raised £149,000 for the Manchester Pride Fund, with The Big Weekend drawing over 170,000 visitors.[6][7] In 2017 the event raised £161,000 for LGBTQ+ charities in Greater Manchester.[8] The parade had over 4,000 participants and nearly 150 entries and attracted tens of thousands of spectators to the city centre.[9] Manchester is the first such parade to include the police, the army and the NHS among its floats.[1] In 2019, it was estimated that 170,000 visitors would attend during the weekend.[10]

2019 saw elements of the Manchester Pride four-day August bank holiday festival take place away from the Village when the music stage is moved to the site of the former Manchester Mayfield railway station.[11] 'The Big Weekend' has been replaced by a ticketed event for 2019, with an entry fee of £71.[12][13][14]

In 2022, the concert element of the event was dropped [15] after a consultation with the LGBT+ community amid concerns about how the charity is run[16] found that MCR Pride Live, as the concert was to be called, was considered less important whilst the parade, the Candlelit Vigil, the Gay Village Party, Superbia Weekend, Youth Pride MCR, Family Pride MCR and Human Rights Forum were identified as vital elements of Manchester Pride.[17] Manchester Pride live returned for the 2023 event.


Historically, Manchester Pride has received criticism from within the LGBT community, dating as far back as 2007 and beyond.[18]

In August 2021, CEO Mark Fletcher was grilled on BBC Radio Manchester over the organisation's decision to "cut ties" with local charities the LGBT Foundation and George House Trust.[19] Although he denied the claims, stating that Manchester Pride intended to continue funding their schemes, the charities responded with a joint statement denying this, saying at the time: "Hearing that Manchester Pride will continue to fund LGBT Foundation and St George Trust on the radio earlier today contradicts the conversations we have had about our long-standing funding agreements which have been ended by them. We have not been given any indication of what future funding might look like or on what terms."

A drop in charitable donations was put down to a loss of revenue in the wake of COVID-19. However, critics pointed out that the organisation's charitable contributions had dropped pre-pandemic, too.

According to BBC Radio Manchester, in 2018 Manchester Pride donated nearly £150,000 to charity, around six per cent of its revenue. In 2019 it made a record-breaking £3.94 million, yet its charitable contributions were halved to three per cent, amounting to just £122,000.

The 2019 event featured a headline performance from Ariana Grande.[20] Her reported fee of £350,000 for performing accounted for nearly three times the money handed to local charities.[citation needed]

As charitable donations steadily dropped, the Chief Executive also took a £20,000 increase in pay. Fletcher faced calls to resign with a petition being set up by disgruntled campaigners, the petition received over 2,000 signatures in less than 48 hours.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Jennifer, Williams (27 August 2016). "What is the point of Manchester Pride? Thirty years of partying and politics... but the battle isn't over yet". Archived from the original on 10 April 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Manchester LGBT History". Manchester City Council. Manchester City Council. Archived from the original on 11 February 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  3. ^ Tony, Naylor (17 August 1997). "Manchester's Mardi Gras festival next weekend, and the Canal Street 'gay village', testify to a vibrant hedonism". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Mardi Gras show goes on". BBC. BBC News. 22 August 2002. Archived from the original on 16 May 2004. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Manchester Pride Invites People To Shape How Organisation Is Run". Manchester Gazette. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Report for Greater Manchester Police" (PDF). 15 June 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  7. ^ Evans, Denise (24 August 2012). "Manchester Pride: Your guide to the 2012 festival". Manchester Evening News. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  8. ^ O'Rourke, Holly (29 January 2018). "Manchester Pride Festival smashes records in 2017". men. Archived from the original on 24 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Manchester Pride Festival - Black History Month 2018 | Black History Month Celebrating the Great Black British Achievers". Black History Month 2018 | Black History Month Celebrating the Great Black British Achievers. Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Does a Pride event need Kylie or Ariana Grande?". BBC News. 23 August 2019. Archived from the original on 4 November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  11. ^ Headline artists announced for this years Manchester Pride
  12. ^ Parkinson, Hannah Jane (4 February 2019). "Manchester Pride is charging £71 a ticket this year. That's a bit rich". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Pride 2019". Manchester Pride. ManchesterPride. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  14. ^ Hunt, El (February 2019). "Priced out of Pride: why the Manchester event's ticket hike is just the tip of the money-making iceberg". NME. NME. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Manchester Pride music gig cancelled amid charity changes". BBC. bbc.co.uk. 14 February 2022. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  16. ^ "Manchester Pride: Protest held over festival management". BBC. bbc.co.uk. 28 August 2021. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  17. ^ "Manchester Pride music gig cancelled amid charity changes". BBC. bbc.co.uk. 14 February 2022. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  18. ^ "Manchester Pride – The Truth About Where Your Wristband Money Really Went…". Gay Mafia Watch. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  19. ^ Manchester Pride ends support for safer sex scheme
  20. ^ Ariana Grande to play Manchester Pride in return after 2017 attack