LGBTQ+ charity reports 85 per cent drop in income

Manchester Pride had to cancel its annual flagship event in August last year because of the coronavirus pandemic

Manchester Pride
Manchester Pride

The LGBTQ+ charity Manchester Pride suffered an 85 per cent drop in income following the cancellation of its flagship event last year.

The charity’s accounts for 2020 show its income fell from more than £3.9m in 2019 to £720,000.

The charity said this was due in part to funds from its annual Pride Festival, its main source of income, falling from £2.5m in 2019 to nil in 2020.

The cancellation of the August bank holiday event last year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, also led to three redundancies and the charity’s remaining nine staff taking voluntary pay cuts.

It also led to a temporary pause on non-committal grant funding to third-party charities and organisations.

Manchester Pride’s financial situation was affected further by a 92 per cent decrease in donations, from £114,000 in 2019 to about £9,000 in 2020.

But its spending deficit was reduced from £3.9m in 2019 to nearly £1.1m in 2020.

The charity’s reserves fell from a surplus of nearly £280,000 to a deficit of £95,000 in 2020. 

Its accounts show that the pandemic has “severely impacted the charity’s reserves and its ability to support its charitable objectives”.

The charity has developed a medium-term plan to return its reserves to pre-pandemic levels and made use of government-backed loans, through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Culture Recovery Fund, to enable it to operate in the short term. 

This autumn the charity will conduct a consultation as part of what it said will be a “bigger and further-reaching” version of its annual review, which will result in a new action plan.

Paul Wheeler, chair of Manchester Pride, said: “While it was great to be able to put on a physical Pride celebration this year, there can be no doubt Covid-19 has had a significant impact on our charity.

“As the majority of the charity’s income comes from the delivery of the annual Manchester Pride Festival, the fact we couldn’t deliver a physical festival in 2020 had a deep impact on our organisation, our valued employees and partners.

“This meant some difficult but necessary choices had to be made. 

“Regrettably, that meant some redundancies had to be made, voluntary pay cuts for our remaining employees, committing our financial reserves to meet our obligations to suppliers and staff, and substantial changes to how we operate.”

Wheeler said the charity had still been able to deliver its charitable objectives and bring people together to celebrate LGBTQ+ life by moving much of its work online. 

The charity hosted a number of free online events throughout the year and created new initiatives such as the Digital Manchester Pride Conference.

“We’ve learnt a great deal over Covid-19 and we want to ensure we’re listening and continuing to focus our charitable efforts in the right way as things begin to get back to normal.

As a result, we will be conducting a review of our work to take views from a broad range of stakeholders,” said Wheeler. 

“We have an active and interested community, and we want to engage with as many people as possible to hear their views and opinions as we look forward and plan for the future.”

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