C aerphilly Youth Services, Basement team run Caerphilly Borough’s only specific LGBTQ+ group for young people, providing a safe and confidential environment where young people are able to express their true selves, whilst meeting other young people that share the same experiences and issues.

The group is for any young people aged 11-25 that identify as being LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning their sexuality or sexual identity).

The group has been running for just over a year and is held on the last Saturday of the month from 12.00pm-3.00pm, operating as a drop–in provision and is currently made up of 36 young people.  The group is led by the young people, so what happens in each session is inclusive to the people that are attending.

The group carry out a variety of activities including games consoles, jewellery making, art and craft, cooking and issue based workshops that provide information and transferable skills that the young people will be able use later in life.

The group has successfully supported one young person in putting together an LGBTQ+ group within her school and we have also sent emails out to all Caerphilly Borough schools to ask if we can visit the schools to raise awareness of the group.

All Basement staff members have been trained in specific issues that could affect LGBTQ+ young people and all value equality and embrace the diversity of all young people bring to the group.

The LGBTQ+ group is a fantastic community initiative raising awareness and equality of the LGBTQ+ community.  Not only has it welcomed young people from Caerphilly Borough, but also from Newport and Blaenau Gwent.  Due to being the only young persons’ LGBTQ+ group within the Caerphilly Borough, it has greatly supported the young people as they now have that space they can safely explore feelings, thoughts and identities.  By running an LGBTQ+ group within a community and promoting awareness and equality for all, it is hoped that this will remove any stigma attached to the LGBTQ+ community in the future.

As part of LGBT History Month 2017, the LGBTQ+ group offered a range of awareness raising activities, with the Basement in Blackwood hosting a week-long programme of activities during half term for young people to take part in.

Activities included quizzes, exploring identities and matching the LGBT community flags to their names and learning the meanings. Young people who attended the sessions also wore the LGBT rainbow badge emblem to help promote equality and awareness.

Find out more on Facebook: @ Youth4u 

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