Manchester’s historic Pankhurst Centre has had to take the difficult decision to suspend all heritage operations in the short term due to the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19). As the museum closes its doors for the coming weeks it is reaching out a hand to ask people to become Friends of the Pankhurst:
Francesca Raine, Fundraising and Development Manager for the Pankhurst Trust, says, “As a small cultural organisation the impact of the coronavirus lockdown has been enormous. We are taking this decision for the greater good of the Pankhurst Centre and its long term future, so that we can then pick up on our plans and come back bigger and stronger than ever before. We are hoping that people will support us by becoming Friends of the Pankurst Centre, which costs from as little as £3 per month.”
The scheme, which was due to be launched with an event at the Pankhurst Centre, is a chance to show your suffragette colours, with membership levels befittingly set at green, white and purple levels. Friends are given priority access to future events and activities as well as receiving the quarterly publication of The Suffragette. More importantly the funds go directly towards supporting the work of the only museum in the country dedicated entirely to telling the story of female suffrage.
Run by a tiny, mostly part-time team, and supported by a small dedicated team of volunteers, the museum does not have the digital infrastructure or resources of larger cultural organisations, making operating under the current restrictions very challenging.
Up until 2017 the Pankhurst Centre had been run entirely by volunteers, but through campaigning, a lively events programme, and the role it played during the centenary of the Representation of People Act of 1918, it was on the threshold of the next stages of its transformation journey when this tragedy struck. Only at the beginning of March it had held a fantastic series of events to mark International Women’s Day 2020 – this was set to mark the beginning of a series of new projects.
Once the worst of the coronavirus crisis is believed to have passed the Pankhurst Centre museum team will again be able to begin work on upcoming projects. Until this time the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst will be looked after by Manchester Women’s Aid which, as part of the Pankhurst Trust, runs some of its services from the Pankhurst Centre. Manchester Women’s Aid provides a range of vital services for those suffering domestic violence and abuse, the need for which has been identified as particularly crucial during this lockdown period.
To become a Friend of the Pankhurst Centre visit www.pankhurst.goodcrm.co.uk/