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Havering’s first LGBT+ Youth Group launches as ‘safe haven’ for young people

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 April 2017

Councillors and Eastside Youth representatives gathered at MyPlace for the launch of the new LGBT+ Youth Group. Picture: Cllr Alex Donald

Councillors and Eastside Youth representatives gathered at MyPlace for the launch of the new LGBT+ Youth Group. Picture: Cllr Alex Donald

Cllr Alex Donald

The borough’s first LGBT+ youth group has been launched to help young people through an important stage in their lives.

The group, formed through a partnership between Eastside Youth, a non-profit organisation which helps those aged 11-19 in east London through different changes, Havering Council and the Havering’s LGBT+ Forum, met for the first time last week.

Councillors, key members of the community as well as representatives of Eastside Youth gathered at the MyPlace Centre, Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Hill, to mark the launch.

Founder and director of Eastside Youth Scott Robb said: “We’re excited to hear so many people are looking forward to the work we will be doing in Havering and we too are raring to go.

“It’s vital for young LGBT+ people to feel apart of their community, where they feel able to be themselves in a non-judgemental environment, while getting access to support for their needs, as well as building strong positive social networks with other young LGBT+ people their age.”

Young people will be given the chance to discuss what issues they are facing in a “safe and inclusive environment” on a regular basis with the aim of having a positive impact on their lives.

At the launch, Havering youth work manager Jane Herbert said that “young people who are coming out during school age are incredibly brave” and that the LGBT+ Youth Group will provide a “safe haven” for them.

During LGBT History Month last year, the Recorder reported that despite Havering being considered LGBT friendly with an active nightlife, there are no council-run or independent support groups.

Cllr Alex Donald, an openly-gay councillor, said the report highlighted the lack of services and encouraged him to set up Havering’s first LGBT forum.

Cllr Donald, member champion for young people and chairman of the Havering LGBT+ Forum, said: “Thanks to Eastside Youth and Havering Council, I am so pleased young LGBT+ people in Havering now have a space to call their own.”

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