LGBT Foundation is excited to announce the launch of a brand-new Community Programme focusing on the needs of LGBTQ+ autistic and neurodivergent people!
We are working with our colleagues at the National Autistic Society (https://www.autism.org.uk/) to develop this new programme, and GMCVO (https://www.gmcvo.org.uk) will be funding the programme as part of their Inclusion Grant to Support Deaf and Disabled People. It will fund a fixed term, part time coordinator role to develop and run the programme, with the added aim of further proving the need for this work in the longer term.
We have consulted with LGBTQ+ neurodivergent community members in the development of this programme, and used their expertise to shape how we aim to expand this work in the future. The programme will focus on creating accessible social spaces for autistic and neurodivergent LGBTQ+ people. Some of these spaces will be unstructured in how people can socialise and meet others, whereas other spaces will be more structured in order to facilitate social engagement for people who may need additional support.
The programme also aims to develop best practice for services supporting LGBTQ+ autistic and neurodivergent people across Greater Manchester. This approach will be led by a community advisory panel, and an organisational steering group.
The advisory panel will be made up of community members with lived experience, who will ensure that the work we do always reflects the needs of the community. The steering group is comprised of various organisations, services, and support groups that work with LGBTQ+ autistic and neurodivergent people, and will focus on how we strategically deliver the programme in order to meet the needs expressed by the advisory panel. The steering group’s existence will also aim to encourage co-learning across sectors, so services and spaces for LGBTQ+ people become accessible for neurodivergent people, and vice versa.
The new programme will be part of LGBT Foundation’s Community Programmes Team. The team is made up of a range of programmes focusing on particularly marginalised people within the LGBTQ+ community to ensure their needs are met. The team currently includes:
These programmes work closely with each other to develop spaces for people whose experiences fall across more than one of the programmes, and to also create wider LGBTQ+ community events in which the needs of those who often feel excluded from such spaces are centred. Therefore, we aim for the Autistic & Neurodivergent Programme to be intersectional in its development and delivery from launch.