Updated: Mar 29
In this series of blogs I talk a bit more about my background and who I am. Part 3 looks at my journey working in the LGBTQ community.
MY JOURNEY WORKING IN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY...
My journey working in the LGBTQ community began back in 2010. I was working for the education charity Concordia and had the opportunity to lead the team of international volunteers at Brighton Pride. So – you guessed it – I jumped at the chance!
This saw me coordinate the volunteer project, which involved helping set up the Pride festival in Preston Park and supporting managing the VIP tent on the day. This was back in the days when Brighton Pride was run as a charity and was free to attend.
As an LGBTQ person myself I really enjoyed having the opportunity to be involved in such a huge festival of colour celebrating LGBTQ lives.
Later, in the same year, with a love for writing I decided to apply for an internship with DIVA magazine. Very excited to be accepted, I spent my internship working in the head office in London writing listings and mini articles for Europe's leading lesbian and bi magazine.
Then in 2011, I volunteered to join Survivors' Network (a women’s sexual violence and abuse charity in Sussex) in Brighton’s Pride parade. Having missed the parade the previous year, due to volunteering all day in the park, I found this experience even more full of energy as the crowd cheered as our group raised awareness for sexual violence support.
It was after this experience that I decided I wanted to spend my free time volunteering for a local LGBTQ charity. And this is where my journey with Allsorts Youth Project began. In 2012 I started as a volunteer. My role was to help run the weekly drop-in youth groups for LGBTQ young people aged 16–25.
I enjoyed working in the LGBTQ community and was so happy to be offered a paid role as their female LGBT Youth Worker, with the added responsibility of leading their mental health work. And so, I went on to set up and run an LGBTQ mental health group within Allsorts called 'Open Minds'.
I remember the first evening it ran. It was so popular we couldn’t fit all the young people into the break out room we had set up to run it. I had mixed feelings about this, as it was great that so many people wanted to talk about mental health and help reduce the stigma, but it was also sad that so many LGBTQ young people were struggling with their own mental health.