A new LGBTQ+ support and social group for 13 to 19-year-olds is being launched in Bedford by the charity Q:alliance.
QYouth Bedford will run weekly from October providing LGBTQ+ teenagers with support and a safe space to socialise, thanks to £3,950 in seed funding from The Harpur Trust.
Reports indicate that young LGBTQ+ people are at significantly increased risk of social isolation, bullying and mental health problems, often unable to talk to friends and family about what they are going through due to a lack of understanding around the issues.
QYouth Bedford will provide a safe space for anyone questioning their sexuality or gender identity where they will feel supported and included.
Sessions will be both social, including music, film, and games nights, and educational, providing information and support on a range of issues from mental and sexual health, to understanding gender and sexuality and LGBTQ+ specific family support.
The charity has been successfully running a QYouth group in Milton Keynes since 1998.
Overseen by Q:alliance’s Bedford Trustee Rosie Middleton, QYouth Bedford will be run by a qualified youth worker and a small team of volunteers from a central Bedford location.
The location and time of the group will not be advertised for safety reasons, but will be available through contact with the team.
Q:alliance are currently recruiting a youth worker. For more information please visit: www.qalliance.org.uk
Rosie Middleton said: We’re delighted with the generous support from The Harpur Trust. It is vitally important to be able to offer support to Bedford’s LGBTQ+ youth and build understanding within the wider community.”
Lucy Bardner, community programmes director at The Harpur Trust said: As grantmakers it’s a real privilege to help new ideas and services gain a foothold in Bedford, so we were delighted to offer Q:alliance the chance to expand their services to Bedford. Young people face so much pressure growing up and trying to work out who they are, so a safe and listening space like this will be a lifeline for those who are questioning their sexuality and gender identity.”