Last week was a week of meetings, conferences and research development and one of these was on Friday night when I went to the launch of the West Sussex Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Unsure (LGBTU) Youth Research Project.
For some time now we have been stuggling as a County (and in that I’m including our partnerships with the PCT and Terrence Higgins Trust ) to ensure appropriate provision for young people within the area who identify as LGBTU. Some time ago a lot of research into such provision had been undertaken and a group set up in Crawley along similar lines to the Allsorts Youth Project based in Brighton and Hove.
However due to changes in staff and young people the Crawley group never really took off and there is still no provision within West Sussex. So I went along to see where we were at in terms of the research, especially with a view to what young people have been telling us.
It was a great turn out for a Friday late afternoon / evening. As well as several presentations there were 2 workshops, one for young people and one for professionals to look at needs, what LGBTU provision would look like and what needed to be done. There are still quite a few questions to answer and a need to gain a clearer understanding of what the young people feel will best suit their needs however the over-riding factor that came out was that we need to be much more strategic in developing the provision in order that it is sustainable and has a chance to develop to its’ full potential.
As usual there are a lot of colleagues who know young people interested in setting up such a provision and are keen to get going. I’m keen however to ensure that this time we have something that won’t just disappear, and I’m not sure if having 8 centres with one in each district within the county is the best use of our resources. I’m also keen not to stop the impetus that has been generated by the research and to get something up and running quicky.
So I’m therefore preparing a paper for the Senior Management Team to have a look at which will probably be based on running a number of events for young people and colleagues to explore and develop the provision whilst also developing a strategy to ensure that this time the work is embedded within the service.