Builders starting work on new £2.4 million LGBT+ centre for Manchester

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Today (6 August 2020) is an exciting day for our LGBT+ Centre rebuild. We’re breaking ground on the project with the support of Russell T Davies, the TV genius behind Queer As Folk and Doctor Who, will be wielding his shovel to get them going.

Builders are to start work creating a bespoke £2.4 million LGBT+ centre for Manchester.

In June, demolition workers smashed down the old centre, which was the first of its kind to be built in Europe.

However, construction teams will now create the three-storey new building. It will create the space the team needs to help an extra 50,000 people a year.

The building will be at Sidney Street, a short walk from the city’s world famous Gay Village centred on Canal Street.

Russell T Davies backs new LGBT+ Centre

Gay writer Davies became famous when he created Queer As Folk. The UK drama series, set in Manchester, brought gay sex to mainstream TV audiences. A US version went on to achieve huge popular success.

In 2005, he led the revival of Doctor Who. The very British sci-fi series went on to become a vital commercial hit for the BBC. And it won Davies fans around the world.

He’s also created Casanova, Years and Years, and The Second Coming. After Doctor Who, he pledged to work solely on gay scripts to raise the representation of LGBT+ people on screen.

Dr Ali Hanbury is from Proud Trust, a UK charity for LGBT+ young people, which is responsible for the centre.

She said: “We’re extremely excited that Russell T Davies has lent us his support to mark the beginning of building works at our Sidney Street site.

Not only is he an internationally acclaimed writer and somebody I have the utmost respect for, he has also been instrumental in bringing the LBGT+ issues to the mainstream through his work.”

A new building for a new LGBT+ generation

The previous LGBT Centre had served the community for 30 years.

It opened in 1988, when safety and discretion were the biggest concerns for many of its users.

As a result, it had high windows, mirrors on reception and no post-box to make LGBT+ people feel safe.

However, nowadays those same security features are making people feel unwelcome. Moreover, the building had fallen into disrepair in recent years. And in 2019, the charity concluded it was no longer fit for purpose.

Hanbury said: “Building work was due to start earlier this year but was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic so we’re delighted that we can finally get underway.

So many people rely on our centre. They include those with addictions, people fleeing from abuse, those at risk of becoming homeless and many people who suffer from acute loneliness.

We have been continuing our good work with a virtual LGBT+ centre in the meantime. But to have a physical building again will be brilliant, especially now we will be able to help so many more people and create a thriving hub for LGBT+ people in Manchester.”

Until this year the LGBT Foundation also had a community centre on Richmond Street, in the Gay Village. However, the organisation says it too outgrew that space and decided not to renew its lease. It is now offering more online services as it looks for new premises.

 

Goodbye to 5 Richmond Street 

The LGBT Foundation is looking for a new home somewhere in or near the Gay Village both as a meeting place and as an office location.

Many people seem to think there will be no new home, however that rumour is false. However a lot of the well-being support which has been given remotely during lockdown will almost certainly be given from different locations.

Many people will have fond memories, so here are a few photos:

 

Alan Turing Banknote

Alan Turing, the World War Two codebreaker who later took his own life after being convicted of ‘gross indency’ because of his sexuality, will appear on new polymer £50 notes from next year.

The design will use the famous 1951 picture of Turing by Elliott & Fry which is part of the Photographs Collection at the National Portrait Gallery.

The new note will also include the mathematician’s signature, birthday in binary code, and a quote he gave to The Times newspaper on 11 June 1949 which reads: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”

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