I was bullied by the LGF management as a helpline volunteer because I referred to it by it’s original name of the Manchester Lesbian & Gay Switchboard, and was ousted from the LGF when I came out as trans. It is a huge relief that courageous employees who were victimised by the LGF are speaking out and we need an organisation in Greater Manchester which is legitimate and supports the whole LGBT Community. I hope this will be a positive start for new LGBT community groups in Manchester who have been bullied and ignored by the LGF over the last 10 years.
The Lesbian and Gay Foundtion is a new-labout controlled quango than is soley responsible for the destruction of the once vibrant LGBT community in Greater Manchester by running bogus projects and wasting large sums of public money on fake, pointless projects that exclude the majority of the commuity they claim to represent no wonder they go around bullying staff and volunteers into silence anbd submission.
What a surprise!
The Lesbian and Gay Foundation are a new-labour quango that is responsible for eroding the once vibrant and diverse LGBT community sector in Greater Manchester. Their bogus projects that promise much and deliver very little have been exposed by bloggers and disgruntled members of the community over the past few years. Well done to all those who have worked hard to out these creeps for the rest of the world to see the terrible exploitation that has been going on in Manchester, and hopefully this will prevent them getting their grubbly claws in to other cities such as Liverpool as planned.
No-wonder they have to resort to bullying their own staff and volunteers into silence and submission.
it is notable how many GL organisations that were started by grassroots activists eventually become populated by apparatchiks, especially at the executive level (ie the level that doesn’t actually DO the work, but which smooches with politicians etc)
The LGF have lost their way! Everyone should know this. As someone who once worked at this organisation (now I’m thankfully elsewhere) the treatment of staff and volunteers in the pursuit of money and cost savings is atrocious. People should be aware of how this organisation actually operates, behind the facade of its volunteer run groups. What exactly do the workers do? There are 35 members of staff, but the groups are run by volunteers, the core services are all pre-existing Switchboard and HGM services – there is nothing new. And woe betide anyone who actually doesn’t visit the Village scene – what exactly do the LGF do for those people (the majority)? What exactly does this 1.5 million pound operation provide for someone in Wigan, or Urmston, Reddish or Oldham? They espouse to be a small organisation when in fact they are one of the best funded and highly resourced groups of workers of any charity in the country – but still they need more money. Actually doing what they should be doing instead of a continuing and relentless search for more and more money would be a start. I do not doubt that when this trials verdict is given the LGF will spin spin spin irrespective of the outcome. People should do a little research and see exactly what they are doing with 1.5 million and asking – is it value for money? Could it be spent better? Do other organisations do as well for less? Why would the Chief Executive and former Deputy Chief Exec of the LGF be earning / have earned 75k per annum (look at the charity commissions website at their accounts)? Should this money ( a sizeable chunk of all monies raised by Pride BTW) be spent on service provision. Are they profiteering from their community? Do they value Women? Trans people? the Elderly? Who exactly do they serve apart from young men and their own selfish needs?
The LGF has helped thousands of people since its creation. I find it sad that people would leave the above the commentary. The LGF must understand that the vast majority of us simply do not agree with the views expressed above.
The LGF has helped thousands of us since its creation. I think it is a real shame that people should write the things that they have above and it tells us alot about our community. The LGF is not just one or two people and it is organisation that solely exists to support people.
Someone needs to look up the definition of the term ‘quango’ because it is’nt one, it’s a charity.
Remember LGF that thousands of us support you and the work you do.
“The LGF people”… Well, one quick glance through the laughable outnorthwest magazine and glossy Village listings guide produced by the LGF and sponsored by West Properties tells you all you need to know! If you live in the North West and you do not self-identify as a white gay man under 30, you are not represented or “supported”. Where are all the voluntary and community group listings for lesbian, bisexual and trans women? Queer Youth events in Greater Manchester? Older LGBTQI people? Anyone who is intersex and/or questioning their gender and needs signposting to specific agencies? LGBT Refugees and Asylum Seekers (presumably LGF would send them to Pennine House Detention Centre at Manchester Airport, another corporate sponsor!). We are more than 10% of the population who pay our taxes in the North West and we deserve so much better than this fat cat rip-off!
Over the last fifteen years, in the excitement of being more accepted by government, the media and the population in general, the LGBT community has taken its eye off the ball. Marketeers, big business and cynical people have moved in, manipulated and shaped everything into money-making schemes for themselves. Sometimes this is cleverly set up behind a charity facade to deflect criticism. How dare anyone criticise a charity!
You just need to look at Manchester Pride – now a ‘charity’ in its own right. In 2008 £793,000 was paid out in ‘running costs’ to various businesses (I wonder who runs some of those?) while just £105,000 went to charity.
Compare to the free-to-enter GayFest back in 2000 which also raised £105,000. Running costs for Mardi Gras 2002 were reported as being just £106,000. A 750% increase in running costs (eg. money paid out to business chums) in just six years!
Most of that money comes from the public in the form of Pride ticket purchases and donations.
So just a heads up: you’ll notice that the response to any criticism of Manchester Pride or the LGF is that people should be ‘ashamed’ for criticising a charity and should be grateful for what they have. This is all part of the smoke and mirrors act.
But, like any business or organisation, charities can be badly run or used for personal financial benefit in the background.
>>”Quango – because it is’nt one, it’s a charity.”
Yes it is both. The LGF also have a “trading-arm” which was set up as a profit making element of their “business” – a bit like how BBC Worldwide is separate from the license fee funded BBC.
Quango is an appropriate phrase.
According to WikiPedia – “Quango” is an acronym on the phrase quasi-Non-governmental-organisation (NGO).
Traditionaly, big global charities such as Oxfam and Greenpeace are known as “NGO’s” – but NGOs exist at many level including local and regional charities, its simply a descriptive term.
The exception is most “NGO’s” (not quaNGOS) are not funded by government bodies – unlike the LGF which gets £100,00′s ech year from many of the local Greater Mancester authorities for doing what exactly?.
WikiPedia also explains “The acronym can carry with it an implication of poor management and lack of accountability.”
…again, QUANGO is certainly spot on.
I agree, the LGF is made up of many individuals – and most of these people do work hard and believe in the greater good the LGF claim to be fighting for, but these aren’t the people under scrutiny. Its the undeniable corporate responsibility for the “poor management and lack of accountability.”
No doubt if the outcome of this case rules in favour of the former employees the floodgates will open for others. I predict we’ll see some senior resignations and a lot of changes.
In the future the LGF is likely to be “broken-up”.. a bit like the Royal Bank of Scotland or British Rail perhaps. Whatever happens lets hope it goes back in to the hands of the community and not the small minoroty of greedy, shady business village clique, the undemocratic, morally bankrupt corrupt councils or the shady local NHS PCT types who are happy enough to support gay issues but just as happy to deny life-saving cancer treatments to the public!
As I have mentioned before – there is some good work going on at the LGF but just take a moment to ask if it is 1.5 million pounds worth. Is the C.E.O entitled to such a large wage. Considering most of the actual services (Groups, helpline, counselling etc) are run by VOLUNTEERS!!! And as far as I am aware, the LGF are almost in a minority of one in charging for their counselling service (name three other charities that would charge people in need).
They replaced the original Manchester based landline number for the Switchboard telephone helpline (free to most people with inclusive minute packages) to a Revenue Sharing 0845 number, then reduced the hours of operation (Manchester Switchboard 4-10pm coverage, LGF 6-10pm). The Icebreakers group is not an LGF group – it is an independent group run by volunteers.
So what exactly do they do for 1.5 million pounds. Free condoms and lube are great if you go to the Village to pick them up – but not exactly freely available in Radcliffe or Moston, Stretford or anywhere remotely non-scene. Outnorthwest magazine – great if you are under 30 and male and scene oriented – a bit of a waste of time otherwise.
The Rainbow partnership / breaking the cycle is just a smokescreen so the LGF can move into other areas and hoover up funds from proper charities that actually do something in the community (ask around and listen to people’s experiences) There is genuine concern amongst LGBT organisations that the LGF want to take their particular brand of “work” across the North West and beyond, forever chasing pots of money from smaller less LOUD organisations on the ground and actually working. Their eyes are on Liverpool and Lancashire for sure. The North West community deserves better. Community work cannot and should not be done via the web and magazine – real people are what matters – and it is the real person experience that people remember (Icebreakers / helpline etc).
Don’t follow like sheep the propaganda coming from LGF sources – they are not out to help anyone but themselves – and if you get help then it is a volunteer that has done the helping – not paid staff. Manchester City Centre gets what it deserves – and if second rate services is what people are happy with…………… so be it. Greater Manchester and the wider northwest are not served by the LGF at all in my humble opinion.
A copy of the LGF’s Annual Report and Financial Statements, dated 31 March 2008 can be found here:
More than a quarter of the LGF’s income comes from one primary care trust and about another 50% from other primary care trusts and health bodies. Exctly the kind of things that are going to be cut back in bankrupt Britain in the next couple of years if you ask me.
The LGF blows £75,000 a year on rent. Maybe time to move somewhere cheaper? Staff wages: £592,901 in 2008 and another £100,000+ spent on National Insurance and pensions.
There was a cost of £61,589 to generate voluntary income of £100,736.
It’s interssting reading.
For a PDF copy of the LGF’s Annual Report and Financial Statements, dated 31 March 2008 check the link on this comment.
It’s interesting reading.
This case is interesting in that the LGF are supposed to be standing up for our rights in the wider community. If they are doing this sort of thing to their staff, then what exactly are they really doing for us mere mortals in the real world.
I would not be happy if I were a Manchester resident and having my tax pounds spent by this bunch of people. Folks I do know in Manchester (many) are appalled at the way this is growing. Indeed – if you check out the LGF’s presence on facebook they are losing group members quickly.
It would be interesting to hear anything about what was raised in the tribunal. I am sure there was loads of stuff we don’t know about already.
I understand that transcripts will be available once the judgement has been reached and that is expected to come in a couple of weeks.
Don’t forget how the LGF also closed down the Manchester TV/TS Helpline, despite attempts by members of Northern Concord to set up a new line. At the time of closure the LGF helpline training didn’t include anything on trans issues and had no trans volunteers, it was merely an “LGB” operation despite a large number of the calls to the LGF’s line/switchboard being from trans people!!
Even the current blurb about their helpline doesn’t suggest it offers any information on gender issues or support to the potentially huge numbers of trans people in Greater Manchester now deprived of a telephone support service that THEY (the LGF) chose to shut down and not provide a suitable alternative even by signposting.
Curioser and curioser, Alice… Another LGF curiosity is the lack of engagement with Black, Asian and Ethnic Minorities, despite Greater Manchester having disproportionately large BAME Communities. The few times the LGF have flirted with non-white people have been more reminiscent of “gay porn” than reality: black men portrayed as gangsta-thugs with military clothing and tattoos on the gay men’s safer sex packs and young black men as airbrushed exotic sex objects on the front cover of the outnorthwest tabloid-rag. But what about the Black LGBT Group at Princess Towers? Many people from non-white British backgrounds can’t run the risk of being being publicly seen going anywhere near the Gay Village, due to all the cultural and religious stigma from their communities, but this is lost on the privileged white middle-class gay men happy to take on the role of “mill owners”. And as we’ve already seen, why bother doing the hard work of challenging your own prejudices, racism, sexism, transphobia and islamophobia, when all it takes is a photoshoot with a Token Minority Celebrity? A few stock photographs of John Amaechi and Jonathan Mayor in our celeb-tabloid-zine outnorthwest is all it takes to gloss over decades of institutionalised racism and the shameful slave trade history in Manchester, still evidenced by the use of the Mayflower slave ship in the Manchester City Council crest and logo. “Time for change” as Barack Obama keeps saying, but dozens of John McCains are still in charge of 1.5 million pounds and growing…
It would be a shame if the LGF was disbanded as a result of all this. However it’s one of many LGBT organisations in the North West where rumours of quango management style have crossed my radar. Why is no-one responsible for overseeing where the money goes? Is it really that hard to find anyone responsible inside or outside the community to make sure the community represented gets a fair share of the benefits? I keep hearing of LGBT charity organisers who pay for lavish holidays, new state of the art laptops and 4×4 cars for those that run them, but the LGBT constituents get the meagre small change left over. Something stinks here, and it’s time we made all our charities accountable. Just one honest person appointed to scrutinise the accounts and where the money is spent – how hard can it be? Don’t tear them down and replace them all with Terrence Higgins, simply get some honest people to run them in the first place.
Flapjack – as you say, there is a woeful lack of accountability. The Charity Commission did an investigation into Operation Fundraiser but then lost the file. They promised to let me know when it was found. That was two years ago so I assume it is still missing.
There seem to be a lot of haters on here, probably under the same IP address.
I have had no problems working with them.
As for The Charity Commission. They are USELESS. That is why GUIDESTAR was started, to plug the gap.
I am certainly not a ‘hater’. I am just someone who bought a ticket for Mardi Gras in 1999, the first year they were introduced in Manchester, and like many others I was furious that zero was left for good causes that year. That prompted me to investigate in 2003 when tickets were reintroduced and I didn’t like what I discovered. I started writing about it on my website because the mainstream media and gay press were just publishing propaganda and press releases.
I would like to thank Pink News for covering this story. Nothing will improve unless we discuss the issues.