Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Pink Pounds; A Gay Quarter Could Boost Local Economy

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Pink Pounds; A Gay Quarter Could Boost Local Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: By SANDY McKENZIE

DEVELOPING the gay scene in Middlesbrough could provide a big boost to the town's night-time economy, it is claimed.

There has been a mixed reaction to the call this week from Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon for the town to consider more facilities and events for the gay community.

He also raised the issue of a gay quarter in the town.

And he said he planned to visit the Canal Street area of Manchester - it is the main focus of the city's gay community and is lined with gay bars, clubs, cafes and shops.

Mr Mallon's comments have brought a mixed reaction.

Phil Douglas, a director of Think Pink, in Corporation Road, Middlesbrough, said Mr Mallon's comments were positive.

Think Pink publishes a free bi-monthly magazine Out North-east. About 6,000 copies are distributed throughout the region.

It also organises Satur-Gay each Saturday At the Basement In Albert Road. Similar events are also held on Sundays at Bank Holiday weekends. It also holds a Christmas in July event.

Mr Douglas said: "What Mr Mallon said is positive.

"Iwould like to see more investment in the gay economy perhaps with grants for gay businesses and more events, social activities and community led events."

Mr Douglas said the Saturday nights at Basement attracted hundreds of people.

"We have a lot coming from Darlington and Hartlepool and further a field. With the few gay pubs in the town and the event at basement Saturday night in Middlesbrough is the biggest gay scene between Newcastle and Leeds. I think there is an opportunity for Middlesbrough to have a thriving gay economy."

Paul Angus, promotion manager for events at Blue and Basement, said: "Safety is paramount to the success of the night we do. We do not have problems and people feel safe coming to the venue."

Allan Raby, of the Oak pub in Newport Road, said any decent city had a good gay community and a gay quarter.

"It increases a town's economic activity," he said.

He said people from the gay community in Middlesbrough travelled to places such as Manchester at weekends. "We are trying to do more and keep people in the town but we do not have everything in one area. …

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