Co-op Group donates £10,000 to support Pankhurst Centre after break-in

The Co-op Group’s origins trace back to the original Rochdale Pioneers and its history is closely linked to that of the Suffragettes

The Pankhurst Centre in Manchester has received a £10,000 donation from the Co-op Group to help it repair damage caused by an intruder.

A former home of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, the centre suffered two break-ins in recent weeks and now requires £15,000 for repairs to broken windows and doors, as well as the necessary security improvements.

Emmeline Pankhurst and her family lived at 62 Nelson Street, where the centre is now based, from 1898 until 1907. The first meeting of the movement that became known as the Suffragettes was held there on 10 October 1903. The centre is run by volunteers and receives no public funding, relying solely on donations.

Francesca Raine, fundraising and development manager, Pankhurst Trust, said: “We are absolutely overjoyed and blown away by the support – everyone connected to the museum was heartbroken that the Pankhurst Centre, which symbolises so much in the campaign for women’s equality, should suffer such a set-back. 

“However, this show of support from the Co-op means so much, it really has made a difference – not only can we complete the urgent work, but it has given all at the centre a much-needed boost ahead of our upcoming events and celebrations this week. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure the continued survival of the Pankhurst Centre, but have been so encouraged by the love that has been shown and we extend a huge thank you to all that have reached out to offer their support.”

Andrew Lofty, the Co-op Group’s construction and property commercial director, said: “Since our very beginnings inclusivity and diversity have been at the very core of the Co-op. Equal voting rights for women have existed at the Co-op since it began in 1844, and we felt that we could not sit back when an inspirational museum in our home city which celebrates equality needed help.

“We are pleased that our ‘vote’ of confidence in the Pankhurst Centre will enable it to complete the essential repairs needed and look forward again to the future.”

The Co-op Group’s origins trace back to the original Rochdale Pioneers and its history is closely linked to that of the Suffragette movement.

Co-operative societies gave women members equal rights 80 years before they had an equal parliamentary vote. The first woman member of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society, was Eliza Brierley who joined in March 1846 at a time when women could not join trade unions.

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