Youth Work Ireland Meath (YWIM) and Outcomers provide a space where LGBT teens can socialise, take part in a series of programmes aimed at their needs, and access information in a safe and secure setting.
Meath CYPSC carried out 'An Audit of Services and Needs Analysis of Children's Services in County Meath' in 2014. Through this study LGBT teens were identified as a group which had no support services available in the county. Youth Work Ireland and Outcomers responded by developing a group that has seen its membership grow from 7 to 49 young people in less than two years.
YWIM works with group members in determining how they move forward. As a result various workshops and speaker events have been organised based on the interests of the group. This has included Eagala Horse therapy, Make Up Artistry, raising awareness of access to helpline information and Halloween and Christmas camps.
The LGBT group has formed a strong sense of belonging within their own peer group and with other friends and have developed greater confidence through opportunities to positively contribute to their communities. In July 2015 the group attended Dundalk Pride, the first pride event that most members had been to. Everyone participated in the day, getting involved in the different events. Some of the group are keen musicians and performed on the main stage.
The group has grown essentially through word of mouth. Information has been placed in local schools as well as on Facebook. The group can also be contacted by email - email@example.com.
Aware of difficulties in joining the group for young people living outside of the Navan area and in rural parts of County Meath it is a desire of the group to be able to expand to these regions; either through setting up of other support groups or by finding a way of hosting groups in different locations. This will be worked on in 2016.
The main response from group members is one of satisfaction and happiness at having a space where they are comfortable and encouraged to be themselves. Socialising with a peer group in a safe environment has benefited them in school and in their family lives.
For more information you can contact Youth Work Ireland Meath:
Tel: 00 353 46 909 3402
Click here for more information on Meath CYPSC.