• Sat. May 14th, 2022

Opening a support group for LGBTQ youth in Darwen

ByJulie J. Helfer

Mar 7, 2022

A charity that helps young members of the LGBTQI+ community has opened a new provision after being forced to relocate.

The Rainbow Youth Center recently opened a new space in Darwen at the Knott Street Community Center and is the only such organization outside of London.

The organization helps young people who suffer from mental health and social anxiety issues such as depression, self-harm and other issues.

Group leader Martin Needham said: “We do this by creating a safe space for them to come and be themselves, find each other, ask for help or advice or just meet a friend.

“We have members who travel not only from across the borough but also from as far afield as Salford, Blackpool, Bolton, Burnley, Rossendale and more.

“We launched the organization two years ago and initially held our first event in the middle of last year.

“We used to have a site in Blackburn town center which was open every day but unfortunately over the Christmas period the roof started leaking quite badly, the site quickly became unusable so we had to find a new site.

“With some help from Blackburn Rovers Community Trust and Cllr Julie Gunn of BWDBC Children’s Services, we have moved the provision of the youth center to Knott Street Community Center in Darwen and offices to Blackburn Rovers Business Centre. ”

In the past, the center was open all day as a drop-in center, but as the new site is shared, the group currently only has daytime access on Saturday and had their first session at the new venue. end of February. .

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mr Needham added: “For the foreseeable future we will be running a youth offering every Saturday between 10am and 5pm from the Knott Street Community Center in Darwen.

“Unfortunately we see a steady rise in the number of young people in society who need help with mental health issues, the Covid lockdown has left much of a generation in a black hole of depression, d anxiety, eating disorders and worse, and although our offer is aimed at young members of the LGBTQI+ community, we would never turn away a child in need.

“The site will be occupied by both volunteers and staff employed by the RYC (Rainbow Youth Centre), all of whom have undergone an enhanced DBS check.

“The idea of ​​the site and the philosophy of RYC is to create a safe space where young members of the LGBTQI+ community can come, so that they can ask for help or advice, make a friend or join the one of our many clubs.”

The Rainbow Youth Center offers all kinds of clubs, arts and crafts, film, photography, theatre, music (using their fully equipped music room), outdoor adventure, which is supervised by qualified staff and one of the directors who is a master scout. , and even a rugby club which is overseen by Preston Typhoons coaches.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mr Needham continued: “But more than that, we’re not just here to entertain, we’re also here to listen and help, so if our members want anything else, we’ll do our best to provide them, like opportunities volunteering, mentoring, help with college applications, work experience, legal issues, or therapy sessions.

“We get our funding from different sources, our main income is from grants, but we also have an online store that sells merchandising, and we accept donations from members of the public.”

For more details, visit rainbowyouthcentre.com

To visit the crowdfunder page follow this link: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/lgbtq–under-18s-youth-support