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Gays say Liverpool should have a share of the pink pound; Plea for `village'entertainment.

Byline: Laura Davis

MERSEYSIDE'S gay and lesbian community is calling for Liverpool to have its own version of Manchester's CanalStreet.

The city needs to widen its range of leisure facilities for homosexual people, the Merseyside Lesbian and Gay Community Forum (MLGCF) said last night.

A gay village within the city centre is one of the proposals being put forward to council leaders, said Mike Homfray, chairman of the MLGCF Liverpool branch.

He said: ``There is a small number of venues here but they are all in back street areas.

``There is no sense of gay and lesbian presence in Liverpool,and we need to put the issue on the agenda.

``Every weekend many gay and lesbian people from Liverpool go to Manchester when they could be staying here.''

Mr Homfray believes the creation of a gay village would helpLiverpool's regeneration. He said: ``This would not just appeal to people from Liverpool but from the whole of Merseyside and the surrounding area.

``All the money that people from here are spending in Manchester each weekend would be spent in Liverpool.

``We have got to be realistic. Liverpool is not Manchester but you only need to look at the variety of things in Manchester to see there is a lot more room for development here.''

The MLGCF is also calling for improved support for gay and lesbian entrepreneurs following the lead from Manchester, which already has a branch of the Gay Business Association.

Coun Mike Storey,leader of Liverpool City Council, said the local authority was in discussion with the MLGCF about increasing the role of lesbian and gay people in Liverpool.

He said: ``The lesbian and gay community are an integral part of society in Liverpool,as it is in any town or city in the country.

``They have made a valuable contribution to the culture of the city and we will work hard with them to help them explore all avenues to make sure they can play a greater role in Liverpool life.''

Canal Street, named after the Rochdale Canal that runs alongside it, is the heart of Manchester's gay village.

Several gay and lesbian-friendly bars first opened on Bloom Street, a two-minute walk away,amid the ramshackle back-to-back cotton warehouses and offices.

The open nature of Manchester's gay and lesbian scene has helped forge its reputation as one of the most visible and vibrant in Britain.

The hit television drama Queer As Folk also brought the gay village into the limelight.

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VILLAGE PEOPLE: The TV series Queer as Folk helped make Manchester's gay village,above, famous,and Mike Homfray,top,right, wants a similar area in Liverpool
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 6, 2003
Words:440
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