Canal St helps Community Centre in Burnley

Whilst on my Christmas break in my home town of Burnley I was discussing a local community centre where my long time friend and Drag Mother is a volunteer. He had put forward to their chairman that the staff was given a uniform which clearly stated that they were unpaid volunteers in the hope it would help with alleviating some of the verbal abuse which was sometimes given by service users believing that they were talking to government employees.

Seeing as all the volunteers are either retired, sick and disabled or unemployed, it was agreed that having a uniform would also give a more professional look to the centre as consistently presenting yourself in a smart and tidy manner can be difficult when you’re on limited benefits. Unfortunately the centre has many other higher priority expenses so realising a staff uniform seemed unlikely.

I had recently become a Patron of a Manchester Charity (AXM Foundation) and during one of our ‘Pitch to Enrich’ events; we had given money to a man who wanted to expand his printing business following a period of personal difficulty. I contacted Mr Gary Edwards who agreed to do the job at a special price; all I needed to do now was raise the funds.

My original plan was to rally some of my fellow Drag Queens and organise a fundraiser but during the initial stages of that, I was being stopped on Canal Street and handed money as well as receiving pledges from Village Venues via Facebook, asking me to call in and collect a donation. Within 3 days I had collected over £400, a far cry from my desired minimum goal of £250.

I was then able to order a set of Polo Shirts, extra Sweat Shirts and even caps and coffee mugs, all branded with the Community Centres logo and more importantly the word ‘volunteer’.

On behalf of Richard and his partner Ben and all of the volunteers, I would like to say Thank You to Manchester’s LGBT community for helping make this happen. It was a lovely token from our community, made even more heart-warming as none of the people who gave money had any personal connection to the centre. 

If anyone has a similar project or requirement, you can contact the printer on

Misty Chance


story published on  Wed, 11 Jan 2017