Building work is now underway for a brand new state-of-the-art £2.5 million LGBT+ community centre in the heart of Manchester.
The ground was broken at the Sidney Street site yesterday by award-winning screenwriter Russell T Davies, who is most known for his work on Queer as Folk and Doctor Who, and BBC Weather presenter and LGBTQ advocate Owain Wyn Evans.
The new facility is to replace the previous centre, which opened in 1988.
It was the first centre of its kind to be built in Europe, but after three decades of continuous use, was found to no longer be able to meet the needs of the growing community and was thus demolished in June to make way for the new three-story £2.4 million redevelopment that will help an additional 50,000 people each year.
It comes following years of fundraising, which saw a massive £2.5 million raised from donors including Big Lottery and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), as well as from members of the public.
The new centre will continue to be managed by leading LGBT+ youth charity The Proud Trust.
The new purpose-built community centre – which will feature a vibrant and inclusive community café, alongside a large community room, library, and a city-centre roof garden – will support LGBT+ people from Manchester and beyond with a wide range of free, inclusive support services and events, just as the old centre has done for over three decades.
Speaking on the new centre, Russell T Davies said: “It is going to be an amazing place,”
“I came to live in Manchester in 1987 just before it opened and, now there is a brand new start [so] it is very exciting. Think how radical it was in 1988 – there were very few places like it in Europe – and it is still quite rare even now.”
Dr Ali Hanbury, LGBT+ Centre Manager, 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.”
She added: We’re so grateful to all of our donors for helping us to raise enough money to rebuild our centre so that we can continue to support people for many years to come.”
“This is another proud moment for Manchester.”
The Proud Trust is looking forward to opening the doors of the new LGBT+ centre in 2021, ideally when current social distancing measures amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic “will hopefully be a thing of the past.”
“There will definitely be a significant celebration when we’re done.” said Dr Hanbury.
“Everyone involved has worked tirelessly and showed great patience during the delays, so we really do have something to celebrate next year”.
You can find out more information about the LGBT+ centre via The Proud Trust website here.
Mancunian has been named one of the ‘most attractive’ accents in the UK
Manchester is, once again, celebrating what we already know – our accent is one of the “most attractive” in the UK.
In case you missed it, earlier this year, Manchester welcomed in 2023 with the news that our city’s accent had been named the “sexiest” the country has to offer – with a survey of 2,500 people by casino comparison site Best Casinos discovering that over half of respondents ranked it the most pleasing regional accent to the ear.
And now it turns out that that survey wasn’t a fluke, because a new study has called the Manchester accent one of the “most attractive” in the UK.
But while there’s no doubt we can hold our heads high and be proud of claiming a spot in the top 10, this title does become a bit less impressive when you realise which other regional varieties have placed higher than us.
Fellow Northern accents Scouse and Geordie have taken second and third place on the list respectably, and the Welsh capital’s Cardiff accent rounding out the top five.
For us northerners, the grim reading continues when you learn that the London accent has clinched the top spot.
The Most Attractive Accents in the UK
According to Preply, 21% of women survey respondents voted for the London accent as the most attractive in the UK, compared with just 15% of men, while 10.4% of the population picked the unique sound of the Liverpool accent as second best.
Only 8.7% of survey respondents considered the Mancunian accent to be the most attractive.
The results from this survey do, at least, go some way to shattering the findings from two surveys published last year that found the Manchester accent is considered to be one of the ‘least respected’ nationwide, especially in the corporate world of work, and that Northerners with strong accents are considered ‘less intelligent’.
Featured Image – Unknown
The first bright yellow Bee Network bus has hit the streets of Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester residents will soon start to see bright yellow double decker buses travelling the region’s streets in the coming weeks.
With exactly six months to go before Greater Manchester “brings buses back under local control”, Mayor Andy Burnham has joined a number of other local leaders in unveiling the brand-new ‘Bee Network’ co-branded buses.
In what marks the biggest change to transport in Greater Manchester for almost 40 years, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), bus operator Diamond – which currently runs services in Bolton – has teamed up with Go North West to run the first franchised services in Wigan, Bolton, and parts of Salford and Bury from September this year.
Diamond has agreed to start transforming their buses into Bee Network ones from this week, with more set to appear on the roads every month.
The first bright yellow double decker bus has now hit the streets of Bolton, and is serving the number 8 route – which connects Bolton and Manchester city centre via Farnworth and Salford.
As already announced by TfGM and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), when franchising is officially introduced on 24 September 2023, 50 brand-new electric Bee Network buses will hit the streets on day one, alongside new ‘Euro VI’ vehicles, and dozens more co-branded buses from the existing fleet.
A further 50 electric buses will then be introduced onto the network in March 2024, which is when the second part of franchising starts.
All of the 270 new electric Bee Network buses will be fully accessible, with wheelchair bays, hearing induction loops, audio and visual announcement systems, and anti-slip flooring.
Mayor Andy Burnham said the first Bee Network bus entering service is “very much the start of our journey”, and added that the scheme will “ultimately deliver a greener, integrated and more inclusive transport system that will transform how people travel around our city-region.”
Transport Commissioner Vernon Everitt also called the first bus’s introduction onto the streets as “a further significant step” towards the integration of the Bee Network and the “transformation” of public transport and active travel in the region.
He continued: “From September we’ll also have dozens of new state-of-the-art buses serving passengers in Wigan, Bolton, and parts of Salford and Bury.
“These will be the first of many across Greater Manchester that will, alongside the new lower fares – which are already increasing ridership – and improvements to travel information, improve bus travel for everyone who lives and works here.”