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Sir Ian McKellen Joins Older Volunteers “at the Heart of LGBT Foundation” to Celebrate Five Years of Pride in Ageing’

Published: June 5, 2024 by mbelfield

Sir Ian McKellen joined LGBT Foundation volunteers for a special afternoon tea to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Pride in Ageing programme and its ongoing work, which he launched on 5th June 2019. The initiative celebrates those who are older and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) and undertakes projects with communities in Greater Manchester to address their needs. In the last 12 months, the programme has welcomed 1100 people to events and activities at LGBT Foundation, and many more older LGBTQ+ people have accessed LGBT Foundation’s support services in Greater Manchester and national helpline. The programme now commences its fifth year of operation with new projects on physical activity, a recently launched digital skills cafe and creative workshops where different generations of LGBTQ+ communities can learn from each other’s experiences.

Achievements of the Pride in Ageing programme over the past five years include

At the five-year anniversary event in April, Sir Ian remarked on how pleased he was to see “older volunteers at the heart of LGBT Foundation – as they are the experts”. He wished the volunteers success with their current and upcoming projects for the Pride in Ageing Programme. Sir Ian, 84, reflected at Pride in Ageing’s launch event on his experiences as an older gay man. “I was criminalised, and that leaves a brand on you” Ian said, referencing the legal restrictions on homosexuality in England before 1967. “Older LGBTQ+ people need to be surrounded by friendship, love and respect”.

Lawrie Roberts, Pride in Ageing Manager: “The expression of hope and joy by Sir Ian McKellen at our launch has inspired our first five years of activity. We’d like to thank our amazing supporters, including Barclays, Age Friendly Manchester, Manchester City Council and Sir Ian, but most of all we’re celebrating our volunteers’ contributions to this programme – they’re a true inspiration to our LGBTQ+ communities and make a huge impact on the lives of many in Greater Manchester. 

We have an incredibly busy events programme, last month we had a dance workshop, digital café and book club – all for free and which anyone who is older and LGBTQ+ can come along to. The programme’s activity is designed by an advisory panel of volunteers and we are currently taking on new members – if you are LGBTQ+, aged over 50 and from the Greater Manchester area and would like to get involved we would be really interested in talking with you. Please do get in touch with us via the volunteering section of LGBT Foundation’s website or over the phone.”

Mindy, 72, a volunteer with the programme: “Pride in Ageing welcomes the energy, drive and experience of older people within our LGBTQ+ communities in the region. LGBT Foundation is showing that being LGBTQ+ is not just about the youngsters on Canal Street, it’s about everybody.”

Pam, 74, a volunteer with the programme: “This work is literally lifesaving, it matters to me as an older lesbian woman that pride in all its diversity is recognised.”

The Pride in Ageing Programme is supported by Barclays, Age Friendly Manchester and Manchester City Council.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article or would like to find out more about volunteering, LGBT Foundation’s helpline can be accessed at 0345 30 30 30. To get in touch with the Pride in Ageing programme online you can read more about us at or email

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