Manchester Pride are being forced to defend a stark drop in donations made to LGBT charities – after the amount donated fell by more than half in three years.
James Stevens, who was a regular Big Weekend attendee and describes himself as a ‘proud mancunian’, wrote an open letter to Manchester Pride expressing his concern at the decline.
Pride’s donations fell continuously year on year from £135,000 in 2009 to just £52,000 in 2012, according to fundraising data on their official website.
In his letter which was also published on Facebook, Mr Stevens describes the amount as ‘absolutely shameful’ and questions whether the organisation has lost sight of its community values.
Chief Executive of Manchester Pride, John Stewart, believes the costs associated with the festival and the poor economic climate is to blame for the decline.
“We have to cover the costs of hosting what remains the UK’s leading Pride event,” Mr Stewart said in a statement.
“Major festivals do not organise themselves, nor does the cost of providing entertainment on three stages and security pay for itself.
“The amount raised for charity is almost entirely dependent on level of tickets sales, as costs have to be covered. Once costs have been met, the entire surplus is then donated to charity.
“Clearly, we would like to raise a substantial amount for charity every year, but have to recognise that, in a challenging economic climate, attending a four day event is a considerable commitment for our patrons.”
Mr Stevens argues that Manchester Pride has lost sight of its community roots and the booking of ‘big names’ at Pride’s Big Weekend reflects this.
“Pride is about Community, of being proud of who we are as that community. Surely, it would be better to reclaim that identity,” Mr Stevens writes.
A spokesman for Facebook group, Facts About Manchester Pride, echoed Mr Stevens message saying the event is now damaging to the gay community in Manchester.
“Support has drifted away due to a failure to control costs over the years and the charity amount being an ever dwindling percentage of the income,” a spokesman said.
“Sponsors don’t like what they see and there’s a limit to what the public will pay for tickets.
“I think Manchester Pride probably does as much harm as good now. And we are doing this to ourselves by going along with the shallow and superficial marketing of our community.”
The £52,000 raised in 2-12 was split between the LGF Condom and Lube Scheme, the GHT Welfare Fund, with the remaining 50% being distributed in community grants, according to Pride’s website.
Picture courtesy of One-Eyed Vision, with thanks.