At the Trust, our overarching aim is addressing health inequalities and creating a fairer society for all. A vital part of this is supporting LGBTQ+ people. So far, the Trust has granted over £1 million to LGBTQ+ projects, which have supported over 4,447 people.
Proud2Be Rural Outreach Project (PROP) is a project run by Proud2Be CIC in South Devon which holds activities to bring the community together for mutual support and to address the issues faced by LGBTQ+ people in the local area, including discrimination and social isolation. Social groups enable members to develop better support networks, including inter-generationally, and increase their self-confidence and resilience, whilst community events help to increase the visibility of LGBTQ+ people in the area.
Every year the social enterprise holds a pride event, to celebrate LGBTQ+ people and raise awareness of the discrimination still faced by so many. This year, the pandemic has made it impossible for the charity to host the event physically, so the festival will be moved online instead.
The online celebrations will involve a host of events including a DJ set, an inclusive sexual health question and answer session, a ‘Drag Storytime’, and much more. There will also be young people-led discussions on how COVID-19 and gender stereotypes and expectations have impacted upon their lives.
Twins Max and Maya Price founded Proud2Be in 2011 after experiences of bullying, discrimination and shame, recording a video explaining how they are both proud to be part of the LGBTQ+ community. The project has now grown, supporting local people of all ages in their community.
The online festival is not the only way the project has adapted to the lockdown measures, with the project moving their peer support groups online, with the adult group quadrupling in frequency during the social distancing measures. Prior to lockdown, the project was running a fortnightly social and support group, now they are running a weekly online social which includes opportunities for attendees to check in with each other, share coping strategies and take part in fun activities. They are also running a weekly online film night which has also proved popular.
The increase in demand for their services has also been echoed with their younger participants. Before lockdown, Proud2Be were running a fortnightly youth group, but since the lockdown, they have increased the sessions in order to provide more support, running weekly instead. The project has also been delivering a weekly emergency food parcel scheme for those LGBTQ+ people who would otherwise struggle to afford or access basic food items during this time.
Maya Price, Co-CEO, said, “On behalf of all of our members, I want to say a massive thank you to People’s Health Trust for continuing to support Proud2Be. To be able to adapt our services and continue to reach out to our members at such a testing time has been incredibly important and is appreciated by us all!''
Proud2Be CIC is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through Health Lottery South West.
Totnes Pride Online is running from 31st August, with the main event happening on 5th September. Head to https://www.proud2be.org.uk/totnes-pride/about/ to find out more.
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