GISDA in Gwynedd has received £100,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to support a special club for young people from the LGBT + community, thanks to the support of National Lottery players.
GISDA’s LGBT+ Club meets in Caernarfon every other week and supports young people aged 14 to 25 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans. GISDA’s aim is to support and empower LGBT+ young people by offering a safe place that accepts and values who they are and promotes their health and well-being.
It’s a space where they can be themselves, a place to meet other LGBT+ young people, take part in activities, talk about their lives, enjoy snacks, have fun and gain a sense of belonging.
Following a successful National Lottery bid the project will be re-launched in 2021 with the hope of establishing a new club in Blaenau Ffestiniog so that young people do not have to travel.
Sian Elen Tomos, GISDA’s Chief Executive, said, “We are delighted with the success of our National Lottery application! The club has been running for years but has been heavily dependent on volunteers and small pots of money and donations. The additional funding will make a huge difference, will provide a solid foundation for this much needed service in Gwynedd and will enable us to raise awareness and educate others of the needs and barriers faced by LGBT+ young people.
“We hope to develop clubs in other parts of Gwynedd, starting in Blaenau Ffestiniog. We will also train club members to be young mentors and play a leading role in the running of the club.
“The lockdown period has been extremely difficult for young people in general. It has been very challenging for young people from the LGBT+ community who rely on clubs and peers to get support to understand their feelings and barriers. The club has been closed for nine months but we have resumed face-to-face support this month, following the appropriate social distancing rules.
“Several reports and research show that the percentage of LGBT+ young people who become homeless is extremely high because of a relationship breakdown within their home – we are keen to provide preventative support to reduce this.
“This funding will enable us to run a project for two years and to employ one full time and one part time job.”
Ruth Bates, Head of North Wales region for The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “GISDA is doing amazing work in Gwynedd, giving intensive support and opportunities for the county’s young people. We owe a big thank you to National Lottery players for making it possible to fund projects such as GISDA’s that are making a positive, life-changing difference to people, especially at this challenging time when that support and care is needed more than ever.”