The Centre Place: Social connections

08 November 2021

Having strong social connections in your local area is an important first step in tackling inequalities and advocating for change. Some people face a greater risk of isolation including people who identify as LGBT+ which can lead to poor mental and physical health.

“Simply having someone to open up to and speak freely with has been very helpful and allowed me confidence to express myself.” – LGBT+ young person

The Centre Place, which has received funding from the Trust since 2017, offers one to one and group support for LGBT+ young people in Nottinghamshire. Their three support groups provide a safe and welcoming environment for project members to share their experiences, explore issues and form social connections.

Georgia Crossland, LGBT+ Specialist Social Worker explained: “A lot of LGBT+ young people are really socially isolated. When people first join our project some of them aren’t attending school, some are too anxious to socialise and a lot of people are quite shy. The centre is very youth-orientated and the young people have control over how it looks. We see the impact initially when people come into our building – they’re amazed and feel a lot more relaxed and eager to engage.

“Having a safe space for people to make friendships and share their experiences with others that can relate is a huge part of what we do. These friendships are often sustained outside of our centre with group chats, which are really important. Having that support system has helped many of our participants have the courage to re-enter education, voice their experiences and socialise with their peers.

“As well as providing a fun space to socialise, we also talk about specific issues impacting LGBT+ young people such as mental health problems and hate crime. The young people choose some of the topics we focus on and how we approach them. With hate crime we’re working with schools to provide training on dealing with homophobic and transphobic bullying. Taking ownership over the project in this way is a real confidence boost and helps the members feel more confident in other aspects of their life as well.”

This case study was produced as part of People's Health Trust's 2021 Annual Review and demonstrates how social connections is an important social determinant of health. To read it in full, click here.

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