Manchester Gay Village raises thousands for life-saving condom scheme after Pride cuts funding

Businesses in Manchester’s Gay Village have raised tens of thousands to reinstate the life-saving free condom scheme cut loose by Manchester Pride.

Manchester Pride recently cut funding for the scheme which has been giving out free condoms and lube to the city’s LGBT+ community since 1994 – the longest-running of its kind globally.

Manchester Pride had funded the safer sex packs since their inception, but announced on Tuesday (3 August) that the funding would be scrapped  because of the “significant impact” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Manchester’s LGBT+ community declared that Pride had become a “music festival” and that the organisation should be “utterly ashamed”, the LGBT+ Foundation searched for “ideas or offers of support” for funding to continue to vital scheme.

Following an emergency meeting on Friday (6 August), the businesses of Manchester’s Gay Village have come together and agreed to “attempt” to fund the scheme and Manchester’s HIV charity George House Trust (GHT).

In a statement posted to its GoFundMe page, which has a funding target of £100,000, the Village Licensed Business Association (VLBA) said: “With this money, over 90,000 safer-sex packs can be produced, distributed and facilitate a whole years’ supply.”

It added that funds would also support “the continuous work that the GHT do, as we fight to eliminate the stigma of HIV and support people living with HIV”.

Each Gay Village business within the VLBA has “agreed to make a contribution” to the campaign, and the group will hold community fundraisers over the next year to achieve its £100,000 target.

Manchester Gay Village raised a quarter of its target in a single day

Within 24 hours, the Gay Village fundraiser had raised over £26,000, more than a quarter of its target, to support the condom and lube scheme in Manchester.

The local LGBT+ community celebrated the community fundraising for the life-saving scheme, with one Twitter user writing: “This is why we should continue to support our village when Manchester Pride does not.”

“Amazing to see the real community pulling together to continue to support and help educate,” said another.

This is why we should continue to support our village when @manchesterpride does not https://t.co/Dq7oWLCfFz

— danyuls (@MancDanyul) August 8, 2021

Amazing to see the real community pulling together to continue to support and help educate, though also not a surprise x

— Susannah Gaddass-Birchall (@zannadean) August 8, 2021

It’s amazing how the village community pulls together. Showed an initial announcement to a friend and wishing 2 hours this had been pulled together. pic.twitter.com/ElvgyMKauT

— Day1Zero (@Day1Zero) August 8, 2021

LGBT community organising was at the forefront of the response to HIV. It’s great to see Manchester’s LGBT+ community pulling together to secure the future of the world’s longest running free condom and lube distribution scheme. Donate if you can #StrongerTogether https://t.co/Xu9kpploaj

— Adam Jowett (@DrAdamJowett) August 8, 2021

Academic Adam Jowett added: “LGBT+ community organising was at the forefront of the response to HIV.

“It’s great to see Manchester’s LGBT+ community pulling together to secure the future of the world’s longest running free condom and lube distribution scheme.”