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Big Lottery funding to improve the health and well-being of trans people

Published: 14 July 2015 Tags: Trans, Programme, TransForum, health, well-being By John Walding

LGBT Foundation are excited to announce that we are being awarded funding from Reaching Communities through the Big Lottery Fund to support our ongoing partnership work around improving the health and wellbeing of trans people over the next four years.

This fantastic news coincides with the annual national transgender celebration and now the world’s largest transgender event, Sparkle, which LGBT Foundation is proud to be supporting this year.

In August 2014, LGBT Foundation (formerly The Lesbian & Gay Foundation) announced that it would become a trans inclusive charity following ongoing consultations with representatives from over ten local trans community groups.

Since then, the charity has continued to work together with local trans community groups, staff, volunteers and trustees to discuss a wide range of trans issues, including the two-year development of the two-stage application process for the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities bid.

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that after two years of working in partnership and consultation with local trans community groups, we have won this funding from the Big Lottery Fund. Not only will this help LGBT Foundation to develop and support person centred, wraparound, specialised services for trans people, but it will also enable us to continue our ongoing work with trans community groups ensuring they continue to thrive. This is an important step towards increasing visibility and equality for trans people in the UK, and we want to do everything we can to ensure that trans peoples voices are heard and their needs are met.

“We recognise that there is a real need for people-centred gender identity services, particularly for trans people, and after going through this process for the past two years and identifying how important funding is for this area, we hope to continue working with local groups to offer tailored support for trans people in Greater Manchester. We would like to thank everyone who contributed towards the development of this bid and the Big Lottery Fund for helping us to work towards improving the lives of trans people.”

The project will continue to focus on working together with trans communities by forming a Trans Community Action Panel; supporting MORF’s (Manchester’s trans masculine peer-support group) Binding Scheme; developing wraparound services for trans people; hosting trans support groups and seminars; and collaborating for annual events such as Sparkle and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Trans people face a wide range of issues and in particular, there are considerable health inequalities and social factors that negatively affect the lives and life-chances of trans people. For example, these include: poorer mental health, including depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation; issues with ignorance and prejudice when accessing mainstream services; issues with discrimination, transphobia, bullying and hate-crime; and isolation and low community integration (including for older trans people and those without access to trans social networks).

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund England Grantmaking Director, said:“We are pleased to support LGBT Foundation. Transforming Horizons is an excellent example of how lottery funding can ensure that people going through important transitions in their lives receive the vital support they need to improve their emotional and mental well-being. We wish them well.”

As part of the project, there will also be an opportunity to recruit dedicated trans project workers and develop a considerable amount of information resources including: medical frameworks and advice; people’s stories and case studies; role-model profiles; trans legal rights; and LGBT history.

Chair of Sparkle Beckie Cannon said: “LGBT foundation's track record in helping lesbian, gay and bisexual people is proven, and now with the inclusion of trans people we are looking forward to working with LGBT Foundation in creating safer spaces for trans people to develop their gender identities and expression. People should not underestimate the power that this grant has: it will save lives, it will set a course for improvements in mental health provision and health inequalities, it will provide resources and knowledge to combat transphobia and the ability to educate people on the differences between gender and sexuality. This announcement at the start of Sparkle, the world's largest free to attend transgender celebration held every year in Manchester’s Gay village, is the perfect beginning to a brighter future for trans people and gender diversity”

Outside of working with local groups, LGBT Foundation, as the lead partner of the National LGB&T Partnership, hopes to engage with both national and local policy makers, charities and statutory health providers to help them also become more trans aware and inclusive.

Jenny-Anne Bishop, Chair of TransForum Manchester, said: “This is a great achievement as getting funding for any trans project is difficult. This funding will empower LGBT Foundation to become a fully B&T inclusive organisation by both engaging with and supporting the North West trans community in the supply of health and wellbeing services in a spirit of true co-production. It will also build capacity in the trans community and establish an ongoing legacy of sustainable trans support and community up-skilling.”