Find out what support is available in Manchester
A new LGBT+ service, the first of its kind in the country, created by The Proud Trust, has now launched its interactive map of LGBT+ youth groups: https://www.theproudtrust.org/people-like-me/meet-people-like-me/ to bolster its existing one-to-one web chat that gives LGBT+ young people and the adults who support them the opportunity to talk to experienced youth workers.
The interactive map, which has been developed following the successful launch of Proud Connections, has been created to signpost LGBT+ young people to local groups that are open and welcoming new members post pandemic: https://www.theproudtrust.org/people-like-me/meet-people-like-me/
In Manchester, this includes LGYM, Young Women’s Group, Femolition Squad, Afternoon Tea and Turtles, groups for LGBT+, LGB+ women, transfeminine and trans young people looking for support who live or spend time in Manchester.
Proud Connections was created in conversation with LGBT+ young people as a response to a steep incline in requests for digital support during the pandemic. Over the last year, the Proud Trust has seen a rise in demand for its services across Greater Manchester and Cheshire. With 54% of LGBT+ young people saying their mental health had suffered during the pandemic, Proud Connections provides a space for young people to reach out and connect with an experienced LGBT+ youth worker, wherever they are in the country. The new digital support service also sits alongside a hub of information and resources on all aspects of LGBT+ lives.
Ashley Hind, Help Services Manager at the charity said: “What we’ve really tried to do with the launch of Proud Connections is to provide a listening ear to LGBT+ young people and let them know that support is out there for them. Providing young people with options so they can make informed choices about the support available to them. Whether that be joining one of the 20 LGBT+ youth groups we run across Greater Manchester and Cheshire (including Wednesdays LGBT+ youth support in Stockport), one-to-one support from our staff or LGBT+ mentors or through our peers and partners in the LGBT+ youth sector.
“Equally for adults supporting LGBT+ young people, it’s okay not to have all the answers – our online resources hold a wealth of information. The Proud Trust’s website and Proud Connections web chat is a first port of call to learn more about LGBT+ identities.
“Since the very successful launch of Proud Connections, we are now setting live the next resource, which is an interactive map of local LGBT+ youth groups across the North West. In the future this will become a nation-wide tool.
“Many of our resources and services can be accessed anonymously, like our new web chat, but if individuals need more ongoing support, and want to meet face to face, there are groups where young people can meet other LGBT+ people for peer support”.
Young people from The Proud Trust have fed into the development of the service so far, one young person said:
“Proud Connections will be amazing for LGBT+ people in isolation because it’s an instant way to reach out with somebody else who gets it and won’t judge you. The resources on the website also help because they give young people like me the resources to empower themselves and remind themselves that they are beautiful and valid.” Young Person (age 15) from Greater Manchester.
Proud Connections is supported by BBC Children in Need’s Impact Programme, A Million & Me, which focuses on supporting children who are beginning to struggle with their mental health and wellbeing.
Paddy Sloan, Project Director for A Million & Me, said: “We are delighted to be supporting The Proud Trust, who share our ambition to encourage children to share their feelings and supporting family, friends, carers and trusted adults to listen. A Million & Me is all about the importance of relationships and by providing access to expert information and giving children and adults the confidence to have open conversations, we aim to increase empathy and resilience and help prevent mental health problems developing. We look forward to working with The Proud Trust as they build their digital support service, providing information and advice to those who feel isolated and excluded.”