We're delighted to have secured funding that will provide support for the LGBTQ+ Community in Swindon and Wiltshire
As a leading national housing provider, funding from the Longleigh Foundation, will deliver a four-bedroom project called The LGBTQ+ Safe Space to provide practical and emotional support for the LGBTQ+ community in and around Swindon.
Through our partnership with Voluntary Action Swindon and Swindon Borough Council, we're secured funding for a three-year pilot programme to deliver this service from our charity arm, the Longleigh Foundation.
Renovation works at the projects new home are underway and the facility is scheduled to open its doors at the end of July 2019. The LGBTQ+ Safe Space will provide short-term accommodation for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are no longer able to live in their current home due to domestic violence, hate crime, family breakdowns or discrimination.
The project’s two dedicated specialist coaches will focus on providing person centred mental wellbeing support, and advice about employment and education opportunities will be available, with the ultimate goal of preparing individuals for independent and permanent housing.
The service will partner with local organisations in Swindon including Swindon Women’s Aid, and Out of The Can, a local LGBTQ+ youth group who have also obtained funding through the Longleigh Foundation to continue their work with The Diversity Trust.
Recent research by Stonewall highlighted the need for this service provision across the country. It indicates that in the past year 11% of the LGBTQ+ population experienced domestic abuse (twice as high as the population as a whole), yet we know that access to services proves difficult for the client group and only 1.2% of cases discussed at MARAC in the past year related to individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.
A government survey also showed that 40% of the LGBTQ+ respondents stated that they had experienced a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic incident in the past 12 months by someone who was not a member of their family.
Swindon is not exempt from these harrowing statistics and the provision of this charitably funded project will provide an innovative and essential safe place to live with on-site specialist support.
Here, our Regional Manager (Supported Housing) Andrew King said: “I am delighted to announce the creation of LGTBQ+ Safe Space. Stonewater already works with a number of customers from the LGBTQ+ community. I have witnessed young people estranged from their family due to their sexuality or gender identity, and those who’s mental health has deteriorated due to a lack of support provision during their transition. The LGTBQ+ Safe Space and the specialist coaches will really make a difference in supporting customers from the LGTBQ+ community and will inform and support our wider staff team to develop their own skills to in turn support more customers from this client group.”
Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “I am thrilled to welcome this wonderful scheme to Swindon, which demonstrates that we are leading the way with our commitment to supporting the LGTBQ+ community in the town.”
Berkeley Wilde, Director from The Diversity Trust said: “This is excellent news for the community as a whole in Swindon. More people are becoming aware of the difficulties faced by the local LGBTQ+ community, however, there is still so much to do to tackle discrimination and access to appropriate support services. I am very proud to be part of something so inspiring and innovative for Swindon.”