Representatives from twenty-four local LGBT community groups gathered on Saturday in Brighton to form a new support network.
Smaller groups are those with an annual income of £35,000 or less and which are often voluntary and peer led.
Despite lower levels of funding, and sometimes no funding at all, these groups help a very large and growing number of people in our LGBT communities.
The new LGBT Community Groups Network, the first of its kind locally will provide opportunities for smaller community groups to meet, get to know and support each other, share ideas, news and information; discuss issues which are important to them, access specialist support and advice and work creatively to further their own groups aims.
The network will be supported by social media, and a new website which will also include a resource sharing facility, and keep members and the wider community updated with news and information.
The network is supported by Community Works (formerly the Community Voluntary Sector Forum) and will be facilitated by Community Works volunteer LGBT Reps Gary Pargeter and Chris Cooke.
Gary Pargeter, said: “This is an incredibly exciting resource for us all with a fundamental grass-roots approach and emphasis on peer support and involvement. This network will be one which will be provided ‘by and for’ our member groups.
“Following our recent meeting, insight and the contributions from groups, we are putting together our framework and getting the ball rolling on making new activities happen.
“I’m really looking forward to supporting the energy and enthusiasm already shown by groups, help the network carry out its work and ensure we have resources in place to make this effective.
“I can’t wait to get to know and work alongside the fantastic group of people we’ve already met, and welcome more as news spreads of our work. Its early days of something very new and I have every confidence that this network will flourish as one which is enjoyable to be part of and that brings benefit to groups and people who use their services.
Chris Cooke added: “What an amazing and exciting experience to have such energy from all 24 LGBT groups gathered together in one room. There is so much we can do if we all work together and I really believe this new network is the vehicle for bringing everyone together. I haven’t seen such vibrancy and positivity for a long time – hence my excitement. Let’s build on this”
The Network plans its framework to be published by early May, its website to be online by the end of May, a community picnic for member groups and volunteers in July, and its first quarterly meeting in August.
Startup costs for the new Community Groups Network will be met from some of the profits from this years Golden Handbag Show organised by Gscene Magazine at the Metropole Hilton Hotel on Sunday, June 22 and will include a new community sound system for all the groups to use at their own public community events, where and when necessary.
Representations from the following organisations attended the meeting:
BLAGSS: Rainbow Chorus: Resound Male Chorus: Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus: Lunch Positive: Peer Action: Bear Patrol: Brighton GEMS (Gay Elderly Men’s Society): Older & Out: Lesbian Link: Older People’s Council: MCC (Metropolitan Community Church): Brighton FTM: LGBT Liaison Sussex Police: Clare Project: Brighton Bothways: LGBT Community Safety Forum: LGBT Community Safety Forum BME: Regard: Rainbow Families: Zhoosh: LGBT B&H Network: Allsorts (shadow rep) also for smaller projects: LGBT Sussex Wills: Community Works Reps.
If you run or organise a smaller LGBT group and want to find out more, EMAIL:
Or telephone Gary: 07846 464384.