The Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mr Warren J. Smith KStJ JP DLitt LLD, is a dedicated supporter of various charities and organisations in the area, and on 19 June he welcomed 50 people to the LGBT+ Centre on Sidney Street to launch a public appeal to support its re-build.
Built and opened in 1988, the current Centre is the only purpose-built facility of its kind that is still open and flourishing. Built and owned by Manchester City Council, it is now in its 30th year and in desperate need of refurbishment.
£2.25m is needed to rebuild the space, and a campaign to raise funds has just received an £800,000 boost after a grant was awarded from The Big Lottery Fund towards the works. Along with other donations received, this takes the total raised to an impressive £1.1m.
The space is managed by The Proud Trust on behalf of 18 regular groups, and receives over 17,000 visits per year. Demand for the Centre is higher than ever, and groups and services that use the space are expanding, hence the urgent need to re-develop the building so that it is fit for purpose for many more years to come.
Dr Ali Hanbury, Centre Manager, said:
“We are so excited to have been awarded grants and donations totalling over £1.1m so far, which means we are one step closer to redeveloping the Centre in partnership Manchester City Council. With Warren’s support we have been able to introduce many companies and individuals to the work of The Proud Trust and have highlighted the significance of the LGBT+ Centre in the UK’s recent political history.
“We know that by re-building the Centre we will more than double our size so that we can more than triple our impact. We have raised half the target funds needed and have launched our public appeal and are actively looking for donors and corporate sponsors to help achieve this! If this could be you, please get in touch with us.”
High-profile supporters of the LGBT+ Centre’s work include Brooklyn-based textile artist Ben Copperwheat, as well as former Lord Mayor Carl Austen-Behan; and TV stars Maxine Peake and Alicya Eyo.
Warren Smith said:
“The LGBT+ Centre does some incredible work for and on behalf of thousands of people across Greater Manchester and beyond. The first time my sexuality was affirmed was when I became Lord Leitenant aged 59 and I am determined that other LGBT+ people do not have to wait so long! I am delighted with the progress made so far in securing the £1.1mn towards the re-build and am proud to be helping with bringing in further support and investment through my role as Lord Lieutenant."
For information regarding the re-build project visit: www.urbed.coop/projects/lgbt-centre. To donate towards the project and help to reach the funding target, visit: https://localgiving.org/charity/theproudtrust/ or email: firstname.lastname@example.org