This past week, I have had the most joyful reminder of the support and love in our community. I am staggered by the number of folk coming forward with such enthusiasm to apply for our mentoring programme. I am immensely grateful, and I am proud that folk trust us with their valuable time.
If you have read my prior bulletins, you will know that we are skilling ourselves in the art of predicting the future! For some time, we have been working on emerging concerns around the future of work for our young people. This has been exacerbated by the current public health crisis and increase in reported LGBTphobia over the past couple of years.
We are hearing increased anxiety from our young people regarding studies, exam results and future prospects in difficult economic times and an increasingly competitive job market. This anxiety is highly likely to escalate in the coming months, as well as increased feelings of hopelessness and lack of meaningful opportunities. Many of our young people tell us they are also worried about LGBTphobia in the workplace, and fear that their mental health will suffer in unwelcoming or hostile work environments.
We believe in the revitalising power of hope, and want young people to feel empowered to thrive in the world.
Our aim is two-fold:
- To skill up LGBT+ young people in key areas within training environments that are LGBT+ affirming.
- To build bridges with supportive, friendly and trusted LGBT+ adults who can provide guidance, reassurance and possibly work placement opportunities.
So, to my next ask, The Proud Future Project:
We are creating programmes for our young people, both during the current period of lockdown and beyond, for the future of work. In particular, we are creating learning programmes in setting up as a freelancer or for side hustles (managing finances, marketing, dealing with contracts, etc.) and in leadership skills. We are hoping to secure work placements in LGBT+ supportive environments for some of our young people, so that they can gain valuable experience. We also intend to run a series of recorded interviews with LGBT+ folk answering some questions about their study and work journeys, and how they have navigated some of the tough life and work decisions they have made.
If you are reading this and have even a fleeting idea of how you could support this Proud Future project, we would love to hear from you! The more diverse the people, the better we serve our very diverse LGBT+ young people. We welcome input from folk representing differing walks of life and at different stages of work or study.
- Is there some training you could give or assist us with?
- Could you have a chat with a younger LGBT+ person who is considering study / career in your area?
- Have you set up your own business or side hustle and have some advice you could share?
- Do you have some resources you would like to share with us?
- Could you / your employer host a work placement for an LGBT+ young person?
- Would you be happy to have a recorded chat with us about your journey, your successes and perhaps some of the hurdles you have overcome?
Aim: To help young people develop their own routine.
Suitability: Many young people automatically think of routine as a bad thing so you might want to begin activities around the subject by discussing what routine is, what its benefits are and why it has negative associations for many young people (it is often imposed by adults against their wishes; it is often part of systems, like school, that they don’t enjoy or thrive within, etc.).
Resources: Young people need paper and pen.
Preparation: Design your own routine so you can show them, if you are comfortable to do so.
Instructions: Draw a sheet with four or five rows and seven columns. This creates a calendar type grid which they can label with days and dates. Fill in existing commitments, e.g. youth groups, plans with family, planned socialising. Can be done in different colours for different types of activities.
Young people can now add in other activities in blocks to fill the time; they could discuss together what things they’d like to do, e.g. learn guitar, watch a series, learn a language, video call dad etc.
On the other side of the paper, they can design a daily routine. Think about what they want to do for: morning routine, midday (lunch), evening (dinner) and bedtime. Consider setting a daily waking/sleeping time, daily meal times, routines such as showering, exercise, praying. Talk about and affirm the variety of routine that young people come up with – some might suggest getting up at 3pm, and some might suggest playing Xbox all day. Rather than policing what they come up with, encourage the group to discuss these issues, e.g. are there others who don’t want to play Xbox all day? Why is that? Have you done it before and how did it make you feel?
Think about putting in time for ‘spontaneity, breaks or rest’ and similar. Emphasise that routine doesn’t have to be rigid. They can change their routine or just throw it in the bin if they want – it’s something for them to use if it’s useful, but not to feel bad if they don’t stick to it.
You can revisit their routines in later sessions, see how useful they have found them!
Late last year, some lesbian, bisexual and pansexual (LBP) young women came on a residential with us to the Lake District. Whilst there, they gave their thoughts to what it is to be an LBP young woman, recording these thoughts in a series of podcasts.
This week, why not listen to their thoughts on what is to be an LBP young woman with additional needs, with a focus on autism.
Ticket to Pride, our region-wide public art campaign to challenge LGBTphobic hate and celebrate LGBT+ pride across the North West’s rail network has come to a close. We’d love you to see the artwork made by LGBT+ young people and learn more about it, you can download our information leaflet here.
And don’t forget to check out our social media launch of this via the hashtag #TicketToPride.
We Are Bringing The LGBT+ Centre To You!
Each year the LGBT+ Centre in Manchester welcomes more than 11,000 people through its doors. Not only do we offer a homely and affordable community cafe, but also an LGBT+ library and zine library, a swathe of youth groups as well as events such as festivals, book launches, political activism and academic activity. It’s a true home from home and a hub for the communities of Manchester and beyond.
Have you always wanted to come but don’t live in Manchester, can’t afford the travel, or simply don’t like the unknown? Fear not, we’re coming to you! Do you have three minutes to spare? If so, please click here to answer a few short questions and you’ll soon hear about the exciting programme of activities we have from the new virtual LGBT+ Centre.
Please share far and wide, using #VirtualLGBTCentre