- On August 13, 2018
The Northern Ireland LGBTQ+ Youth Forum was on its summer holidays over the weekend of August 10th-12th in White Park Bay. 30 young people from four different LGBTQ+ youth groups participated in the weekend retreat, which focused on connecting LGBTQ+ young people from across Northern Ireland, as well as providing them with leadership training.
The NI LGBTQ+ Youth Forum was established earlier this year as an initiative of Cara-Friend. It brings together representatives from Cara-Friend LGBT Youth, Youth Action Northern Ireland, OUT North West, and GenderJam. The Forum first met in March 2018 at an event attended by over 100 young LGBTQ+ people in Malone House, Belfast. Since then another LGBTQ+ Youth Forum event was held in Derry-Londonderry in May as part of LGBT Awareness Week. This weekend was the first residential component of the project to be held.
“We want to bring these amazing, dynamic and diverse young people together so that they can learn to speak up for themselves and their communities”, says Lee Cullen, Belfast Area Youth Officer with Cara-Friend. “We want to listen to them identify their own needs and problems, the challenges they face, and to provide them with a platform where they can voice those issues and bring them to the attention of policy-makers.”
The young people were accompanied by youth workers from each of the four partner organisations. The weekend focused on resilience training, mental health awareness and leadership training.
The LGBTQ+ Youth Forum will next meet in the autumn with a programme of work centred around specific mental health supports for LGBTQ+ young people in Northern Ireland.