This week, we caught up with Christopher, who works for Salford Youth Service, to find out about their LGBT+ youth groups that run across Salford. There are now three groups in Salford which provide a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender young people. You can get involved in activities including trips, cooking, arts and crafts. The Beacon group also took part in both Liverpool and Manchester Pride.
We chatted with Christopher about how the current lockdown situation has changed the way they’re running the groups.Christopher:
We’re not meeting in person anymore so now we’re doing online groups at the same times, but they’re shorter than they were because we felt that 2.5 hours staring at a computer screen was too much.
There’s a lot of media engagement in the sessions, we screen share and watch short films, clips from documentaries or music videos and then have a discussion about it as a group. It’s great because everyone can immediately research or pull up the right material. We’ve also made two key adaptations: We don’t require people's names and pronouns at the start of each session.
We’re aware that young people might not be out at home and so this is a way that everyone can still be included. It also offers an opportunity to reach out to young people who can’t join the group, for example young people who aren’t out to their families. Now that the groups are online, and not at different locations, the distance barrier has been removed. Which means that young people can come to every session, this means more fresh content and more new material to provide three distinct and separate sessions so that everyone who comes can get something new.
The young people have reacted positively, we’ve seen more consistent numbers and the same people coming to each group which is great. We ask for feedback a lot and remain flexible to what their wants are. For them, Manchester Pride is the highlight of the year for young people, we spend the whole summer preparing for it. Young people spend entire days of their summer holidays painting, building and sewing costumes. It’s not one day in their summer, it’s their whole summer. So this year, with the festival being postponed we’re glad we have created an online network to stay in touch and stay engaged. Creating a positive distraction for young people is of key importance and we’re trying to be creative and engaging with these groups to do that.
We also have an online parents support group for Trans young people. It’s for parents, caregivers and anyone who is caring for a young Trans person to learn more and become better equipped to support your child.
If you want to find out more then head to www.wuu2.info
or contact Chris Rice for more information on 0161 603 0703.