Since Ireland said Yes to Marriage Equality in May 2015, record numbers of young people have had the confidence to come out in a society they felt welcomed by.
This incredible news has a drawback – not every young person can come out safely in their school, community or home without support. BeLonG To have seen a threefold increase in the demand for their LGBT+ Youth Services all across Ireland.
Unfortunately, because of funding constraints, they are forced to restructure the way they deliver their services, so they can continue to provide high quality support to young people within their limited resources.
They recently undertook a review of services, and asked young LGBT+ people to give them feedback on their work. This feedback has been vital in understanding how the growing demand on services is affecting the individuals within them. They listened, thought it over, and now they’re making changes based on that feedback so they can best meet their needs.
Yesterday they announced that they will re-structure their services, to make sure they are reaching and supporting the maximum number of young people across the country, as safely and conveniently as possible.
In the short-term, this means they will be:
- Changing their 5 Dublin groups from weekly to fortnightly
- Closing some of the larger groups to over 18s (but retaining an over 18s fortnightly group)
- Closing the drop-in service and replacing it with one to one appointments
- Collaborating with mental health care services to pilot in-house counselling and build their capacity to meet the needs of LGBT+ young people
BeLonG To look forward to continued working with all their young people, youth workers and partners to ensure young LGBT+ people feel safe and supported.
For more information, visit: www.belongto.org