People with learning disabilities who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender could soon have a safe place to meet, talk and get advice and support, thanks to a project being set up by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).
The Trust’s Adult Learning Disability Team (Great Yarmouth and Waveney) has launched LGBT+ SafePLACE to provide a venue where it is safe to talk confidentially about their thoughts and feelings and where they can be signposted to services in Waveney.
Community Support Worker Ian Duncan, who helped to develop the scheme, said that he and his colleagues had come across a number of people through their work out in the community and through the already established My Health scheme - which gives physical help and advice to people with learning disabilities - who had expressed a need for such a service.
Ian said: “Research conducted by University of Bristol evidences that LGBT people with learning disabilities often face specific issues and barriers to support and inclusion.
“There is a lack of spaces for LGBT people with learning disabilities to socialise and meet other LGBT people.
“Stigma around LGBT identities can make it difficult for people to come out in care settings and the same can be said for people disclosing learning disabilities in LGBT spaces.”
Sue Medley, Learning Disabilities Specialist Nurse, said: “This is an initiative by healthcare support workers who have heard the voices of people with learning disabilities and responded with this innovative scheme.”
To start with, the team are asking people who might be interested to call them on the number below to arrange a one-to-one meeting at the Navigator Centre at Lowestoft library or at the team’s base at Airey Close in Oulton.
Then, depending on demand, group meetings could be held once a quarter or even once a month where LGBT people with learning disabilities can get together for a chat and support.
For more information, please call Ian, George or Sue (Adult Learning Disability Team) on 01502 535020.
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