SAYiT charity gives LGBTQ members a ‘safe space’ during LGBT History Month

A charity which offers emotional wellbeing support for LGBTQ+ young people is raising awareness of events it runs.

SAYiT, who help people from aged 11-25, held an event on Saturday to provide support and opportunities for those in the LGBT community. The charity was originally set up as the Sheena Amos Youth Trust in recognition of a local NHS manager who worked tirelessly to provide sexual health care to those under 20.

The event, took place at Star House in Division Street, and included numerous stalls ran by volunteers. It was open to the general public but was aimed at those in the community who need help or education with issues of wellbeing, such as parents and carers.

Heather Paterson, the CEO of SAYiT, said: “Anything that can support young LGBT people’s mental wellbeing we will get involved in. It’s massively important to give them a safe space.”

The charity, which has been running for 24 years, helps those in the LGBT community through youth groups, 1 to 1 support, counselling services, work in schools and colleges, parents and carer groups as well as training and education.

February marks LGBT History Month, which SAYiT, along with other charities, movements and people in the LGBT community, see as a time to look how far they have come in such a short space of time.

Heather said: “If this is what we have managed in that time then what can we manage in the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years?”

SAYiT is holding another event, Queer elders Up North, on February 27 which will be online feature talks about people through history who have led the way for LGBTQ+.

Despite the progress, Heather refers to the death of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey earlier in the month. which has highlighted how much work is yet to be done to protect those in the LGBT community.

Heather added: “If there wasn’t work to do we wouldn’t have had the death of a young person.”

The bullying that Brianna allegedly faced is has been covered in the media and police are investigating whether it could have been a hate crime.

Heather admitted that bullying is something that a lot of people that approach SAYiT experience. She added: “Being part of a group is the only time that they do not feel like a minority, so they can be be themselves and relax.”

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