They’re asking its supporters to ‘Back the Baths‘ by pledging what people can to keep the baths operating and open. At the moment the venue relies solely on public donations and money raised from events and so with events cancelled for the foreseeable future, other forms of revenue are needed.
What began as a community campaign to save this historic gem has over the years seen the transformation of Victoria Baths into an arts and cultural venue that is now used for events, tours and filming. The Edwardian building is run by a charitable trust and relies upon the money raised from events and visitors to stay open.
Welcoming visitors from across the world, and known affectionately as Manchester’s Water Palace, it has become one of the city’s most high profile heritage attractions.
The building cannot operate a visitor programme during the colder months, so spring 2020 saw the launch of a full season of events, partners’ events and guided building tours; including a brand new Behind the Screens tour.
Sadly at the moment all events and tours have had to be cancelled until the end of May; this includes one of four major events that Victoria Baths organises and curates itself, SpringFest 2020.
SpringFest was set to be a joyful weekend at the end of April of live music, pop up exhibitions, food and drink, family fun, a makers market and more. Further decisions will be made about the rest of the programme in the weeks and months ahead.
Jill Earnshaw, Chair of the Victoria Baths Trust, says, “The timing of this unprecedented situation could not be worse for Victoria Baths. Between spring and autumn is when the building is alive with events, activities and tours. Like so many small heritage organisations, our existence relies upon the building being actively used by people for events and activities.
“We know that the impact of Covid-19 has affected the lives of everyone and made this immensely difficult for so many organisations and individuals, in lots of different ways. Our appeal is to ask our supporters, if they are able, to donate what they might have spent in visiting Victoria Baths or enjoying one of our events.
“All funds raised will sustain the organisation’s skeleton operation until we’re able to open again for events and tours. We’ve taken every opportunity to reduce costs and secure alternative income before asking for donations. Any support that people can give will make a considerable difference.”
Victoria Baths’ Crowdfunder, Back the Baths, is running until 1 May 2020.
For those making a donation there are rewards available, including guided building tours (when the building re-opens), postcards of the building to send to friends, a colouring card (of its famous Angel of Purity stained glass window) and pencils set and annual membership of the Friends of Victoria Baths.