Praise for Falkirk LGBT project's vital support during lockdown

Young LGBT people who have been supported by a Falkirk Council-backed initiative have told councillors how much the support means to them.

By Kirsty Paterson
Friday, 27th November 2020, 4:25 pm
LGBT flag
LGBT flag

They were particularly grateful for support from LGBT Youth Scotland in the recent months of the pandemic when loneliness and isolation have been a real challenge for everyone.

Some of those highlighted in a report to Falkirk Council's scrutiny committee spoke about how LGBT Youth Scotland has helped them fit in and find friends when they were struggling.

One said: “LGBT youth has literally changed my life over the last year.

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"I reached out at a time when I was feeling really alone and depressed and whilst I still struggle, I know there are people there who I can talk to now.”

The report mainly covered the year before the pandemic and talked about the impact the group, which received £29,705 from Falkirk Council, had on its members.

During the year up until March, staff, volunteers and young people led sessions including cooking skills, mental health and wellbeing, social media, baking, clothes upcycling, exam results support, jewellery making, aromatherapy and LGBT people in the media.

One young member said that after joining LGBT Youth Scotland around a year ago they had now started a college course that would lead to a degree.

"I don't think this is a step I would ever have taken without the support of my friends and youth worker from my youth group," they said.

As well as delivering youth groups where young people are involved on the planning of their weekly group, LGBT Youth Scotland also offers support to LGBT young people and their families, and works in Falkirk's secondary schools.

Councillors heard that the young people organised trips themselves, to events such as Pride, learning valuable skills and getting the chance to meet with other LGBT youth groups.

While the work has continued online during the pandemic, there have been challenges in referring young people for support and numbers have dropped off.

However, they have been able to provide intense support around issues such as isolation, anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

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