News - 8 December 2001

MPG Christmas party

Sat Dec 1st was the date of our Christmas party which once again was held at The Hollywood Show Bar. It was a great success and very well attended by parents and family members. We were especially pleased to see so many young people this year. There were sons and daughters, their partners and friends, brothers and sisters, lots of young gay students from the university groups we have been talking to recently, and people from the Gay Groups we liaise with. It was also very gratifying to see that three members of the Greater Manchester Police were joining in the fun. Thanks to everyone who came and made the afternoon such a success.

Conference News

Sat Nov 10th.   Christine and Inga attended the conference Building stronger Communities in the North West, which was held at UMIST. We met many old friends and also made many new contacts. We were involved in workshops entitled Community Development and Working with local Authorities.

Tues Nov 20th.  Brenda, Nikki, Inga and Christine attended the Conference about childhood sexuality and sexual health, entitled Myths and Misconceptions, which was held at the Novotel Hotel in Manchester. The conference was organised by Salford University faculty of nursing. The keynote speech was about a project entitled Towards Effective Sex and Relationship Education. We were disappointed that homosexuality was not mentioned at all. We didn't let this go by unnoticed! Neither was the subject mentioned in the workshop entitled Psychological Development, Sex and Sexuality in Adolescence. Once again we expressed our surprise at such an omission. It was very worthwhile attending to make our presence felt. We disseminated lots of information from our stall and gave out lots of business cards.

Peace Centre News

Thurs Nov 22nd.   Inga, Christine, and Brenda had a further meeting with Bob Rathmill, Project leader - citizenship, at the Peace Centre. Over a cup of tea, we discussed projects that are in operation at the centre and how we can be involved. Bob is working on our project and will let us have further details in the New Year. We had a guided tour around the centre which is a wonderful resource for work with young people.

University news

Tues Nov 27th Sue and Dave spoke to young gay students at the Gay Soc meeting at UMIST

Presentation at NFU meeting

Nov 28th.  Inga gave a talk entitled The Day My Life Changed, to the ladies social group of her local National Farmer's Union. She was given a very warm welcome and there was great enthusiasm to learn more about our work and the issues surrounding homosexuality. As a result two more presentations were requested by other groups. Inga was presented with a bottle of sherry at the end of the meeting as a token of their thanks. Thank you very much ladies!


News - 28 October 2001

Peace Centre Warrington by Inga Rhodes

On Tuesday Oct 23rd I attended an open evening at the Peace Centre Warrington, which was opened in March 2000 in memory of Tim Parry who died age 12, and Jonathan Ball who died age 3, in the IRA bombing of Warrington in 1993. It is through the sheer dedication and hard work of Colin and Wendy Parry (Tim's parents) and Johnathan's family that the dream of building the Peace Centre was realised. The £3 million centre has residential accommodation for 57 people, an IT suite, an arts and crafts room, a conference room, sports hall, lounge and dining facilities.

Colin Parry said, "We are very committed about our work and serious about making a difference in the lives of young people. In a world increasingly characterised by intolerance, we are proposing activities to build mutual respect, tolerance and a celebration of diversity"

The learning programmes for 2001-2 are 1 Youth work 2 Education 3 The Northern Ireland Conflict

I left an information pack about our organisation and the work we do with Bob Rathmill, the project leader for the Citizens for Peace project, which is part of the education section. There are to be workshops for schools related to the National Curriculum programmes for Citizenship. They will explore prejudice, conflict avoidance, cultural and national diversity and the benefits of mutual respect. We are hoping to have a further meeting with Bob at the Peace centre to discuss how we can work together in the future.

MPG talks to Lesbian and Gay Student Groups

University and College News October is traditionally the time we are out and about talking to lesbian and gay student groups about coming out, and this year is no exception. We must be doing something right! We were invited back, and had a very warm welcome to Liverpool, Liverpool Met, Manchester, Salford and Preston Universities. Thanks to Sue, Dave, Nikki, Laurie, James and Joan for being our representatives.

Monday Oct 29th and Wednesday Oct 31st. Sue and Dave are to talk about gay issues to two more groups of student counsellors at Hopwood College in Rochdale

Conference News

Nov 10th.  Christine and Inga are to attend "Building Stronger Communities" (Networking in the north west for lesbian gay and bisexual groups) at Manchester Conference Centre. We should be able to distribute lots of our lovely new business cards!

Nov 20th.  Brenda and Nikki are to attend Trafford Health Authority Conference "Myths and Misconceptions" as delegates, and Christine and Inga are to have an information stall. We are hoping that we can dismiss the myths and misconceptions surrounding homosexuality!


News - 30 September 2001

GayFest 2001 awards and presentations

Monday September 17th.  Once again members of Manchester Parents group were dancing the night away in the Hollywood Showbar, and we had very good reason to be celebrating!

We were honoured to be one of the North West charities nominated to benefit from the money raised at Manchester GayFest. We were delighted to receive a very generous donation from Julia Grant. We are an entirely voluntary organisation with no funding, so the money is very much appreciated, and will help us to continue supporting the very many parents, family members and gay people who call our helplines. For further details of beneficiaries see

We also received an award for the best overall float in GayFest. Our theme this year was Happy Families. James, the driver of our float will very proudly display the large cup we received on his mantle piece! He has always wanted to win an award.

We extend our very grateful thanks to Julia Grant, her committee and volunteers for organising a very successful GayFest. Thanks also to Julia for all her support throughout the year.


News - 9 September 2001

MPG members speak at gay mens group

Brenda and Barbara gave a presentation about the work of MPG to young gay men age 16 to 24 at Hyde Out, in Greater Manchester. After the presentation there was an informal discussion about coming out to parents.

Workshop at Manchester Metropolitan University

In conjunction with The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, MPG members Joan, James, Nicki & Laurie are to give a presentation about MPG's work, and "coming out" and afterwards take part in a question and answer session with young gay students.

Police Hate Crime Initiative meetings

Aug 14th.  Inga, Brenda, Christine and Jane attended the launch of Greater Manchester Police's latest initiative to combat hate crime at Unity House in central Manchester. The event opened with speeches from the Chief Constable Mr Ian Wilmott, the Chair from the L&G Police Authority Ross Brett, and Paul Martin the Director of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. The event was chaired by Chief Superintendent Hart from the Community Affairs Department, Greater Manchester Police. The meeting ended with a consultation exercise hosted by Greater Manchester Police Authority and a best value consultation on Greater Manchester policing plan for next year. Granada TV were there to report for the news and there was also a reporter from the Observer Newspaper.

Aug 15th.   Brenda, Sue and Dave attended the launch of Trafford hate crime booklet. The speakers were Brenda Oakes from MPG and a member of Trafford Borough Council. There was a display of FFLAG's work and a report of the meeting was in the local newspaper.

Aug15th Christine attended the meeting in Bolton. There was a report and a photograph in the Bolton Evening News

Manchester GayFest August Bank Holiday weekend

Saturday August 25th.  We had a float in the parade. Our theme this year was Happy Families. Once again we had a good turnout of parents and family members, and we had a really good fun day. We were thrilled to have won the prize for best float. Thanks to Nicki, Laurie, Sue and Dave for all their hard work dressing the float and to James our driver. Thanks also to Andy for the music, to Chris and Joan for collecting money, to Richard and John for distributing leaflets and to Jane who did an admirable job giving out balloons! See the Manchester Gay Fest photos

Sunday August 26th.  We had an information stall in the Gay village. Inga and Brenda were there in the morning, and Nicki, Laurie and Barbara were there in the afternoon. We were very busy talking to lots of young gay people, many of whom had problems, and this made us realise just how vital our work is. We hope we were of some help. We distributed lots of leaflets and booklets and our information on tackling homophobic bullying in schools seemed to disappear very quickly. Perhaps this tells us something.

Green Belt Christian Arts Festival

Christine attended the above festival, which is the largest Christian Arts Festival in Europe, over the Bank Holiday weekend. It took place in Cheltenham. The organisation Safety Net which provided a safe place for L&G people at the festival invited Christine to give a talk about coping as a Christian family when a son or daughter come out as gay. About 50 people were in the group and there was a question and answer session afterwards. One young gay man told Christine he had come out to his parents six weeks ago and her talk had helped him understand how his parents must have felt when he told them about his sexuality. He hadn't realised the problems parents have to face. There was a report about the festival in The Church Times.


Thanks yet again to Julia Grant for offering us two more charity nights in September. One will be at Hollywood Showbar and the other at Manhattan.

Thanks also to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who presented us with a cheque for £150 for FFLAG at our August parents meeting.

Media News

TV Channel M from Salford University interviewed Brenda and Laurie about MPG for a film Rainbow City, which they are making about Gay organisations in Manchester.

A short piece about MPG by Brenda Oakes is to be included in a booklet produced by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation for Coming Out Day in October.


News - 19 July 2001

Manchester Parents Group first AGM

Sat July 8th. We had a very successful AGM after our parents group meeting. About 25 people attended.

15th Birthday celebrations go with a swing!

Sun July 8th.  MPG 15th birthday party was a huge success. Over 80 people attended The Hollywood Showbar to celebrate 15 years of supporting parents and families of lesbians and gays. Cath Johnson, a founder member, made a speech and was presented with a bouquet of flowers as a token of our thanks. Joyce Layland, another founder member was unable to attend because of illness, but sent a video message which was relayed to everybody on a huge screen. Joan, who was involved in MPG in the early years, was also unable to attend but her son was there to make a video of the occasion. We all enjoyed a delicious buffet, strawberries, champagne, and thanks to Ross Heywood for a wonderful birthday cake. The highlight of the afternoon was the Karaoke, particularly MPG committee members rendition of Dancing Queen and I will survive! The whole occasion was a great success with so many happy families and friends all enjoying themselves together. Thanks to everyone. See the photos

Terence Higgins Trust to set up parents group

Wed July 11th.  Brenda attended a meeting, organised by the Terence Higgins Trust in Oxford, to help set up a parents support group. About 15 parents attended.

BHAF (Black HIV and AIDS Forum) meeting in Manchester

Brenda attended a meeting of community group representatives to discuss gaps in the services provided for LGB groups in Manchester.

Media News

Jane Clayton and her daughter were interviewed by Best Magazine for an article about "coming out", to be published in August.

Jane speaks about our community group at three Stockport MBC meetings

July 2nd. Marple. 4 councillors attended and 45 members of the public.

July3rd. Romily. 4 councillors attended and 15 members of the public. The councillors were very welcoming and asked questions about our group.

July 4th.  Manchester Town Hall covering three wards. 6 councillors attended and 25 members of the public, including young families. The local reporter was also present. This time, there were a number of questions from the Councillors as well as some good supportive comments that demonstrated knowledge of Section 28 and the July conference on tackling homophobic bullying in schools. They asked if Stockport MBC could do anything corporately for us and Jane is following up the idea of a link from their web site to FFLAG'’s and MPG's. The Councillors have since requested copies of our literature, which have been passed to the Committee Clerk.


News - 23 June 2001

Stockport police initiative open day

May13th.  Jane Clayton represented MPG at Stockport police initiative open day.
About 500 people attended. It was a lovely sunny day and there were a great deal of displays inside and outside the building. Our display was part of The Safer Stockport theme.

Police liaison open evening in Bolton

May 24th.  Christine Holt and her son Adrian attended an open evening organised by the police liaison initiative in Bolton. There was an overview of the Homophobic Bullying Conference to be held in Manchester in July and an open discussion. It was very well attended by Police.

MPG speak to student Student Counsellors

Sue and Dave Heywood gave a presentation of MPG's work to student counsellors at Hopwood college in Rochdale. They were eager to learn about lesbian and gay issues and how they affect families.

Equality in Practice Training Day for doctors

June 5th.  In her capacity as health council rep for a project called Equality in Practice Brenda, was invited to speak at a training day on L&G issues for doctors, at Crumpsall Hospital. She gave a short talk about MPG and our work.

Pink Network Meeting

June 12th.  Inga attended the committee meeting of the Pink Network in Warrington. It was decided to mail out quarterly news of events and services that can be accessed through the Pink Network to 40 organisations in the Warrington and Runcorn areas. Information about MPG telephone contacts, parents support group meetings and our website was included. Also included were FFLAG mail order forms.

MPG news reaches far and wide

An article by Barbara Spence about MPG's preparations for Manchester Gay fest was published in the June edition the NSW Sydney Parents Group newsletter.

Conference on Homophobic Bullying in Schools at UMIST

July 2nd.  Inga is to attend the conference as a delegate and Christine is to be involved in the workshop "A multi agency approach" There will also be a FFLAG information stall. 300 delegates are expected to attend and there are to be representatives of police forces throughout the country.

Fundraising News

Once again we extend our grateful thanks to Julia Grant for offering us further charity nights at the Hollywood Show Bar and the Manhattan in June, July and August. Sue, Dave, Nikki and Laurie will be collecting the money on behalf of MPG.

Launch of Trafford Booklet on Hate Crime

Aug 16th.  MPG members have been invited to attend and Brenda is to be one of the speakers.

Inga to speak to NFU group.

Nov 28th. Inga is give a talk entitled "The day my life changed" to members of her local branch of the National Farmers Union in November.


News - 9 May 2001

Older Lesbians Group

Sat May 12.  Manchester Parents Group is having an information stall at the launch of the group for older lesbians at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation.

Manchester Parents Group 15th birthday party

Sun July 8 at the Hollywood Showbar 2pm to 6pm Manchester Parents Group 15th birthday party. There will be a bar, food, entertainment, karaoke etc. Come along and enjoy yourself and help us celebrate 15 years of supporting parents and families of lesbians and gays. See Meetings and Events for more details or read the history of Manchester Parents Group.

Manchester GayFest 2001 Parade

Sat August 25 2001 Manchester GayFest Parade.

Once again we are having a float in the parade and preparations have already started! If you are interested in taking part or helping in any way please contact Nikki and Laurie or Sue and Dave. In past years we have been The Queen Mothers, The Mamas and The Papas, and The Fairy Godmothers winning the Best Community Float award twice in the last 3 years. This years theme is still a secret but should prove just as successful! Watch this space for further details.

News from Sydney NSW Australia

We were contacted via email by a Parents Group in Sydney Australia. Inga replied and her email has been published in their Newsletter. We correspond regularly and exchange Newsletters.


News - 29 March 2001

Homophobic Bullying Forum Report by Christine Holt

As a member of the Bolton Homophobic Bullying Forum, a joint initiative between Greater Manchester Police and Bolton Health Authority, I have been, with other members, into two separate High Schools in Bolton.
20 March Westhoughton half day.
21 March Rivington/Blackrod half day.
22 March Rivington/Blackrod full day.

Cragrats Theatre group, based in Holmfirth, performed a short play "Just Messing About", the theme of which was homophobic bullying. This was followed by workshops facilitated by the three actors. Members watched the play and attended the workshops and I was invited to have some input into the workshops.

I have written to the Head teacher of each school thanking them, and enclosing my own credentials, also offering myself as a resource for follow up work in each school.
The project was extremely valuable in raising awareness of the effects of homophobic bullying on the victims. It was very well received by pupils and staff.

National Conference on Homophobic Bullying in Schools

2 July.  The conference will take place at UMIST in Manchester. Speakers will include Angela Mason, Executive Director of Stonewall, Elaine Morrison National Coordinator of Healthy School Standards, Assistant Chief Constable Lewis, chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers Lesbian and Gay Working Party, and a member of OFSTED.


News - 23 March 2001

Navajo Training the Trainers on Lesbian and Gay Issues

Pauline is attending this thought provoking course over five weeks on Sunday and Wednesday evenings in Preston. It includes an understanding of the social construction of homophobia and heterosexism and its oppressive impact, especially in the workplace, and also of values and attitudes towards homosexuality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, sexuality and diversity. Yes hard going! Well done Pauline!

FFLAG training weekend in Manchester

Thanks to Brenda of Manchester Parents group for organising a very successful training course for FFLAG volunteers in Manchester over the weekend March 16 - 18th. 40 delegates came from parents groups all over the UK to receive training in Telephone Helpline Skills, Dealing with the Media, Religious Prejudices and Different kinds of Gay. Thanks to Nigel Leach and Dale Cooper from Manchester Lesbian & Gay Foundation and Dr Michael Halls from The Intercom Trust in Devon for some excellent training. Thanks also to Gay Abandon, the Leeds based choir, for a very enjoyable Saturday evening concert.

National Friend Conference in Manchester

Brenda and Nikki are to present a workshop Coming out to the Family at the National Friend Conference on April 28th


News - 11 March 2001

Gay and Lesbian Youth Support Service

March 6th.  Inga had a meeting with Kerry Broadhurst the development worker for GLYSS (Gay and Lesbian Youth Support Service) in Warrington. They were given leaflets, booklets, posters and information about Manchester Parents Group and FFLAG. The organisation is eager to liaise and work with us in the future.

The Pink Network

The Pink Network is made up of groups and support services for members of the Lesbian Gay and Bisexual community in Warrington. Inga has been invited to attend their meeting on April 11th. We hope to be included in their directory of services in the future. Other organisations involved are Body Positive Cheshire, Gay Healthy Alliance Project (GHAP), Gay and Lesbian Youth Support Services (GLYSS), 1806/Wish Lesbian Gay and Bisexual Group, and Police Liaison Projects.


News - 8th March 2001

Homophobic Bullying Forum in Bolton

Christine Holt attended an initiative which has been set up in Bolton to combat homophobic bullying. A theatre group called Cragrats have written a play for 14 & 15 year olds. There are to be two productions, one at Westhoughton School and one at Blackrod and Rivington School. Each production will be followed by workshops and there will be notes for teachers. Christine is to attend the dress rehearsal.

Stockport Police Open Day

Stockport Police Station is holding an Open Day on Sunday 13th May. There will be a static display under the banner of Hate Crime. Jane Clayton is to represent Manchester Parent's Group with display boards and literature. FFLAG and MPG websites will be open for display. Other organisations in the same display area will include the Youth Service, Victim Support, and the Council's Housing Dept.

Area Committees

Jane Clayton is also to represent Manchester Parents group at Area Committee meetings in Stockport. There are 8 Committees that meet each month and she will speak to each one over the next few months. We will keep you updated as to when she will attend the meetings.

Media News

Christine Holt who has a gay son, and Jane Clayton the mother of a lesbian daughter, spoke on BBC GMR Gaytalk about how they felt when their children "came out"

Joan and James Carroll were interviewed for a BBC Scottish outside broadcast. Gary Robertson told their story. He was very interested to hear about our website!

University News

Dave, Sue, Laurie and Pauline attended the 15th Feb meeting of the Gay Society at Preston University to speak to the students about "coming out" to their parents.


News - 25 February 2001

Christmas Party Photos

Photos of the Manchester Parents Group Christmas Party are available here

FFLAG Training Weekend

16th to 18th March FFLAG Training Weekend is to be held in Manchester. All FFLAG parent contacts and Group members are encouraged to attend.

Berlin Conference

Brenda Oakes and her son Michael are to be FFLAG representative at Euroflag conference in Berlin in March The conference is to be hosted by the German parents group.

Holocaust Memorial Week

Sunday 21st January. Inga, Christine and Brenda attended a concert given by The Life and Death Orchestra. It was a very touching and at times harrowing performance of music poetry and dance about the Nazi Concentration camps. The evening was organised by the Black and Jewish Education Organisation and we were pleased to be included in the events. We had a stall with information about our work in Manchester Parents Group and also about the Gay victims of the holocaust.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Saturday 27 January.  Members of Manchester Parents Group are to attend the Candlelit Vigil and tree planting ceremony in The Peace Gardens in Manchester in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

Media News 

WFA's Hollywood showbar video

On Tuesday Jan 16th parents were filmed talking about Manchester Parents Group and the work we do, for a video about the Community Groups that meet in Hollywood Showbar.

Fundraising news

Thanks to Julia Grant for offering us the following benefit nights

  • 21st Jan at the Hollywood Showbar
  • 11th Feb at the Manhattan Showbar
  • 4th March at the Hollywood Showbar