LGBT charity launches support services for refugees

LGBT charity London Friend has launched a new service supporting LGBT refugees.

The charity, which works to improve health and well-being for LGBT people, has today launched a new service alongside Say It Loud Club, a community group that supports LGBT people who have fled persecution in their home countries.

The project will provide social, emotional, and educational support, with regular workshops helping LGBT asylum seekers and refugees to become active citizens in the UK.

The partnership, funded via the People’s Postcode Lottery, also includes sessions on rights and responsibilities as LGBT citizens, accessing health care and engaging in local communities.

Regular social groups will help build confidence and self-esteem, and “reduce the isolation many LGBT people can feel from having to leave friends and families behind”.

London Friend will also provide conversational English learning groups, “helping to build language skills and confidence”.

London Friend’s Chief Executive, Monty Moncrieff, said: “We know that LGBT asylum seekers and refugees can feel isolated, and that many feel uncomfortable disclosing their identity in mainstream services, having come from countries where it can be unsafe to do so.

“By supporting them to gain confidence and make connections with other LGBT people with similar experiences this will help them to feel more able to engage in their wider communities, and access support to improve their health and wellbeing.

“We’re delighted to build on our partnership with Say It Loud Club to deliver this project.”

Aloysius Ssali, Coordinator of Say It Loud Club, said: “I am extremely grateful that we will work together with London Friend in reaching out to LGBT refugees.

“London Friend is a place of inspiration to the men and women who have had to flee their countries of origin due to harassment and persecution because of their sexual orientation.

“Working with London friend will give LGBT refugees a unique opportunity to compare experiences and confront mutual challenges in a safe and comfortable environment which will lead to improved wellbeing.”

London Friend clarified: “We are not able to provide legal advice on immigration. We suggest contacting the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group for specialist immigration support.”