Over the next three years, the LGBTQIA young people’s charity will receive this sum to continue supporting Pride Groups across England and Wales
BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE BY IBRAR HUSSAIN
If you’re looking for a bit of good news this morning, look no further! The National Lottery Community Fund has just announced that they will be giving more than £400,000 over three years to the LGBTQIA young people’s charity Just Like Us to transform its Pride Groups programme.
These Pride Groups are a national network of lunchtime or after-school clubs which provide much-needed safe spaces for LGBTQIA teens and allies to feel supported. This new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund will help Just Like Us to continue supporting approximately 16,000 LGBTQIA young people and allies across 1,600 secondary schools in England and Wales.
Laura Mackay, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, said: “With the support of The National Lottery Community Fund, Just Like Us will be able to transform our Pride Groups programme, helping more pupils than ever before to become better allies, to feel connected to the LGBTQIA community and to make positive changes in their schools and local communities.”
“All young people deserve to feel that school is a safe place where they are supported to be themselves, and I cannot thank National Lottery players enough for helping to make this a reality for LGBTQIA pupils across England and Wales.”
The importance of these safe spaces cannot be understated. A report earlier this year published by Just Like Us found that LGBTQIA young adults were three times as likely to face a mental health condition than their non-LGBTQIA counterparts. Pride Groups offer these young people a space to feel safe and supported, making them a vitally important part of the school ecosystem.
Phil East, an English teacher at Park Hall Academy in the West Midlands, said: “Running Pride Groups at Park Hall last year alongside other staff, with the help of the brilliant resources from Just Like Us, was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding aspects of my 20-year teaching career.”
“It’s so important to provide a safe space for LGBTQIA students to socialise, learn about the history of the community and meet other students and allies. We ran a stand in the school reception area during School Diversity Week which was a great success.”
This funding comes as part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s new strategy: “It starts with community.” Their mission is to distribute at least £4 billion of National Lottery funding by 2030 in order to support communities to come together, help them be environmentally sustainable, help young people thrive, and help communities live healthier lives.
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