A charity helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities across the county has been given a lottery boost of almost £500,000.
Lancashire LGBT has been awarded £476,859 of funding over the next three years for a new project, which is set to include a support helpline, work to reduce social isolation and a befriending network for transgender people.
We are really really pleased to be able to continue to provide this support for people
Leaders say the cash is vital for their work, and have celebrated the funding boost announcement.
Katie Hill, project co-ordinator for the With Out Barriers project, said: “We are really really pleased to be able to continue to provide this support for people.
“It was vital to continue to deliver the quality and the level of service.”
The project, funded by the Big Lottery, is due to launch in January, and Katie said: “The new project is all about connecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Lancashire, providing social opportunities and support opportunities for anybody who might need it.
“LGBT people in Lancashire experience much higher isolation than in other parts of the UK.
“We think it’s partly because Lancashire is quite rural in areas.
“And we’ve got Blackpool and Manchester on the doorstep, and people choose to go to those areas rather than getting involved in LGBT activities here.”
The Preston-based charity has been given the funding for the next three years, to follow the Isaac Hitchen project.
Katie said: “We will be looking at things around health and wellbeing.
“We have groups that will be operating transition support projects as part of that, for social support for people undergoing a gender transition.
“We are the only pan-Lancashire organisation that supports LGBT people across the county, including Blackburn and Blackpool, and we are really proud to have secured another three years of lottery funding. “We’ve learned so much in the first project about what’s needed and that’s what the next three years are going to do.
“We’ll be introducing a quality mark scheme. We’ll work with organisations to help them become more inclusive for LGBT people and we can accredit those organisations.”
The project will include an information and support helpline, a programme of community activities focusing on mental health and reducing social isolation, and practical workshops and a befriending network for transgender people.
The chairman of Lancashire LGBT, Carolyn Mercer, said: “Much has improved in the information and resources available for lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people across our county.
“Lancashire LGBT’s work has been recognised for its contributions to date by this significant grant and can now add to its services to help individuals, their families and the wider community.”
Katie asked anybody interested in getting involved in the With Out Barriers project to visit www.lancslgbt.org.uk.