Manchester LGBT magazine axed due to funding cuts – editor of LGF publication pays tribute to readers

An award-winning LGBTI community magazine published by Manchester-based charity The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) has been axed due to funding cuts.

The final edition of outnorthwest, which goes to print this week, will be distributed venues across the city for the last time with a souvenir ‘wraparound’ cover featuring all 121 covers. 

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of The LGF, revealed that the decision to end the publication was a difficult one citing funding and the digital migration of its readership.

He explained: “outnorthwest magazine has gone through many incarnations during its fourteen years of existence, but at its heart our goal has always been to inform, educate, and celebrate the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities here in the North West.

“I’d like to think that we have succeeded in that quest.

“The decision to close the magazine hasn’t been an easy one to make, but we know that the way people access and use information has changed dramatically since 2000, the year that outnorthwest was first published.

“Today, we are all accessing information instantly on our mobile phones, and online through a wide variety of communication channels.

“A bi-monthly, print magazine simply can’t compete in responding to or delivering ‘immediate’ messages.”

In addition to people increasingly reading their news online, Mr Martin also said that as a charity they must spend public money carefully.

He explained: The funding landscape has changed too, and we have a duty to make sure that we spend public money with due care and diligence. 

“The LGF, like many organisations, is experiencing significant cuts to our funding and it’s important for a charity like The LGF to carefully target our communications to where we believe they will have the maximum impact.

“This is why we will continue to prioritise our focus on direct contact through projects such as community engagement, outreach, netreach and we will be seeking to develop more targeted digital communications for our community over the coming months.”

outnorthwest editor Grahame Robertson has worked on the magazine since its inception and shared his pride for the regional publication.

He said: “I’m unspeakably proud of everything this magazine has accomplished over the last 14 years. We’ve campaigned, reported, celebrated and given a voice to those who might not otherwise have had one.

“We’ve made a difference – I know this because you’ve told me and for that I’ll always be grateful.

“I’m also very grateful for everyone who has contributed to the production of outnorthwest over the last 14 years.

“Finally, I want to thank every single person who ever picked up a copy of outnorthwest.

“If anything you read in those pages made you stop and think, get involved, get tested, or even get angry then we’ve achieved everything we set out to do.”

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