“The biggest change is definitely my confidence”. New film highlights LGBT+ youth services in West Sussex

A new short film has been released highlighting the positive impact that services available across West Sussex are having on LGBT+ children and young people and their families.

The film has been created by West Sussex County Council and Allsorts Youth Project, a Sussex-based charity that listens to, connects and supports children & young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or exploring their sexual orientation and or gender identity (LGBT+). Allsorts offer youth services, family support as well as training, and expanded their services to West Sussex in 2017 to meet the need for LGBT+ support in the area.

You can find out more about their work or make a referral at www.allsortsyouth.org.uk

Funded by West Sussex County Council, the positive impact of Allsorts LGBT+ youth groups and one-to-one support are highlighted in the film, which focuses on Finley, one of the young people being supported.

Finley said: “I had a very difficult time in school, and struggled attending and felt very alone … the biggest change since coming to Allsorts would definitely be my confidence… I’d say that talking to people in general, and making friends is a lot easier for me now.”

LGBT+ young people often face exclusion, prejudice and discrimination, at school, in the wider community, or even at home. It’s for these reasons, LGBT+ Youth Support Worker Dwayne explains in the film, that Allsorts provides vital, non-judgmental spaces for LGBT+ young people to come and be their true, authentic selves.

Allsorts’ West Sussex Project Manager, JP, said: “Since expanding to West Sussex in 2017, we’ve found a great need for LGBT+ youth services and access to peer support. These services are often scarce or unavailable, so we take great pride in being able to offer spaces where LGBT+ young people can come to meet others with shared experiences, build their confidence and bounce back from challenges or isolation they may have faced as a result of their identity.”

Allsorts’ West Sussex youth services currently include in-person youth groups in Horsham, Chichester and Worthing, one-to-one support, and online youth groups. Peer support groups and one-to-one support are also available to family membevrs of LGBT+ children & young people.

The groups are being funded by West Sussex County Council as part of new initiatives and training to support all West Sussex children and young people with their emotional wellbeing and mental health. This includes online mentoring for young people and courses for parents and carers as well as dedicated mental health support in West Sussex schools. The Your Mind Matters web pages has lots of advice, resources and links to the training currently available to book.

Jacquie Russell, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We are committed to supporting all West Sussex children and young people to build their resilience and enjoy good mental health. This includes supporting our LGBT+ children so we are delighted to be working with Allsorts, who offer vital services and a welcoming environment where children can be themselves.”

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