Monday December 22, 2014
Christmas is a time of celebration for many, a time when families and friends come together, put aside their differences and enjoy food, chocolates and laughter. For some, it’s a time of reflection of the year gone by, and that is where we will start.
Since we started, just over 3 years ago, we have seen 15,879 students, delivered 703 workshops in 83 schools around the country and have a volunteer base of over 205. We have changed attitudes and given young people an open and safe space in which to discuss diversity and sexuality.
This year, we were shortlisted for the Guardian Charity Awards 2014 and the Societe Generale Charity of the Year category of the European Diversity Awards. We were fortunate enough to win the Ultimate Planet Community Awards 2014 for Community Organisation or Charity of the Year!
Our CEO, Suran Dickson came Number 10 on The Independent’s Rainbow List 2014 and won the award for Inspirational Role Model of the Year at the Out & G3 Reader's Award 2014.
We expanded into the North-West & the Midlands with our delivery partners, Brook, and the uptake on our workshops has been amazing.
We also raised a mammoth £75,000 at our annual fundraising Carnival!
We’ve come a long way, but in the past 2 weeks, there have been 2 stories of young people committing suicide because they were either scared of telling people that they were gay (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11299263/Christian-teenager-takes-her-own-life-over-misplaced-fears-about-telling-family-she-is-gay.html), or the pressure of the bullies calling them gay was too much (http://www.newnownext.com/12-year-old-boy-commits-suicide-after-anti-gay-bullying-for-being-a-cheerleader/12/2014/). Our work is far from over, we need to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, we cannot lose more young people because of fear of being gay or being called gay.
On a much more positive note, our work is definitely making a difference. In the past 3 months, we have changed our workshops after further research and feedback, and changed the questions we ask the young people. In response to the question ‘Would you struggle to be friends with someone if they told you they were gay?’, at the beginning of the workshop 18% would, after the workshop, that percentage went down to 10%, in the space of an hour. For the question ‘Is it ok to use the phrase “That’s so gay”?’ we got 19% who think it is, which then went down to 9%, a drop of 10%.
For another sign of progression and a more positive view of the LGBT community, just take a look at the news coverage of Elton John & David Furnish’s wedding over the weekend!
We would like to thank all of our friends, supporters, volunteers and staff for all their hard work and dedication in 2014 and we look forward to another great year in 2015!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to one and all!