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LGBTI Visibility Mark survey opens

Between 2017 and 2020, we visited people all over Scotland, as well as surveying hundreds online, to capture the diverse experiences of the rural LGBTI community. We collated these stories and statistics into our research report ‘Further Out‘; the first of its kind in Scotland. We found high levels of poor mental health for LGBTI people living rurally, stemming from greater prejudice, isolation and minority stress, as well as a lack of access to inclusive services and spaces.

Recognising this, and the need for community-led approaches, the Scottish Government approved funding for the development of an LGBTI visibility mark. Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“Recent research by the Equality Network tells us that feelings of social isolation can be compounded further for LGBTI people living in a rural setting. This new funding will allow the Equality Network to create an LGBTI Visibility project, working with a partnership of organisations and ‘ambassadors’ from the LGBTI community itself to advocate for the needs of LGBTI people in rural and island Scotland.

It will seek to encourage willing local community spaces, such as cafes, cinemas, theatres and leisure centres, to sign up to the scheme to show that they are a safe space where LGBTI people can go and be themselves. The Scottish Government is committed to advancing equality for LGBTI people, and promoting, protecting and realising the rights of every LGBTI person in Scotland. This fund is another step in the direction to do that.”

We are pleased to be working alongside Highland Pride, Four Pillars, Somewhere and Dumfries & Galloway LGBT Plus to make this project a national success. We also want your input on the design and features of the mark. There is still time to fill in our survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ruralLGBTIvisibility

International Women’s Day 2021 #ChooseToChallenge

This International Women’s Day, three members of the Equality Network and Scottish Trans team reflect on what they #ChooseToChallenge in the fight for gender equality

Karen, Training Assistant

This IWD the theme is Choose to Challenge. In a world of Covid, division, and overwhelming challenges that threaten to tear so much apart, I would like to go small and personal.

Sometimes the challenge chooses you: My mother grew up during the authoritarian Apartheid years in South Africa, where women were taught to silently mind their place. She, a white girl, chose to challenge the injustices she saw to the extent that her father called in local politicians and pastors to talk sense into her. One councillor left, defeated, saying he wished she’d change her views (unchanged!) because the Party desperately needed someone like her.

Sometimes the challenge chooses you: Separated from my father, she was a single mother when both those things were frowned upon. My weekend father taught me about happy-go-lucky freedom from responsibilities and routines. Mom taught me the real lessons: About putting food on the table and shoes on my feet when her purse was empty. About attending my school events no matter what. About choosing to challenge a world that told her she couldn’t and shouldn’t and daren’t and yet she did. She shared her joys and sorrows, and taught me to challenge my own world with her grace and steel.

I may not have learned all the lessons instantly or linearly. But I learned.

Sometimes the challenge chooses you: She is 80 now, recovering from Covid. We travelled half-way across the world to care for her: her body is frail but her mind and humour remain sharp, her spirit as indomitable as when she chose to challenge the things that told her no.

She showed me how to challenge an intractable world and make it and myself better, one deed, teardrop and smile at a time. I am proud to call her my mom, and I hope to live up to her legacy.

Rowan, Intersectional Officer

I was not asked to write this blog for International Women’s Day, but I was able to volunteer. This is important to me because as an apparently female non-binary person it’s often either assumed I should automatically be included in “women’s stuff”, or assumed I should be banned. However, nothing about gender is that cut and dried – at least not for all of us. 

I am non-binary and agender, and because I don’t have a gender, the whole concept can feel like something imposed from the outside, that literally makes no sense. But this can be true for women as well as for non-binary people. The rules that societies impose about what it means to be female are often weird, alienating and downright oppressive. No-one, whatever their gender, should have to dress or make themselves up in a particular way, be limited in what jobs they can do, or how safe they are. 

The words “girls” and “ladies” feel alien to me, and “girly clothes” feel about as natural on me as they would on my cat – but I do relate, in a complicated way – to the word woman. Issues that disproportionately affect women affect me, sexist insults hurt me, and, on a practical level, women’s rights are my rights.

There’s a phrase that did the rounds on Twitter a while ago – “I caucus with the women.” It means that if there is a women’s group discussing women’s rights I want to be included. Not all non-binary people feel that way, of course, but where women’s rights are being discussed, I still feel my experience is relevant and I want my voice to be heard.

So, as a non-binary person, I caucus with the women today, and I choose to challenge misogyny, gender stereotypes, and especially the gender binary.

(By the way there is an International Non-Binary People’s Day. It’s on 14 July, and I’ll be celebrating that too.)

Becky C, Policy Co-ordinator

The F-Word

My feminism is intersectional. In order to tackle inequality and misogyny, it has to be. If our feminism is not intersectional, marginalised people are left to battle structural inequalities alone, and nobody wins. I #ChooseToChallenge exclusionary feminism and the co-opting of feminism against equality efforts around the world and right here in Scotland.

Feminism is more than fighting for equality in the workplace, which of course, we don’t have. Feminism, feminists, are fighting against the effects of inequality and misogyny on our self-image, on the way we carry ourselves with or without shame, on our interactions with each other and the world we live in, on the way we can walk in the streets, on the way we travel, on the way we are portrayed in the media, on the way the media indoctrinates our young people and tears down our role models, on the way we do or do not have relationships or sex, on the way we eat, the way we sleep, the way we might or might not experience joy, acceptance, respect, anger, passion, compassion, love – fundamentally – on the way that we live. Inequality and misogyny seeps and snakes into all facets of our life.

Feminism now has to be more than for just those women who are heterosexual, cis or able-bodied. So much more. Feminism is compassionate, empathic, powerful. Feminism considers the humanity of ALL women regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, trans status, disability, class, education, hormonal or chromosomal makeup, refugee status or age. My feminism considers the humanity of ALL people. My feminism does not distrust or denigrate men, the same men, who suffer under toxic masculinity, the bedrock of the patriarchy. Feminism has and will change the world for the better, but only if it is inclusive, only if it is intersectional. Feminism takes its root in the souls of those who demand equality. I #ChooseToChallenge feminists to step up for everyone in this fight.

Over £7k raised to support our work for LGBTI equality

We’d like to say a huge thank you to @AyeforScotland, @BlackeSkye and their team for raising an amazing £7240.66 to support our work for LGBTI equality. For 24 hours their online event on Twitch engaged many guests about LGBTI issues, all while the host played the Hollow Knight game.

All of our campaigning work is funded by donations, so we are hugely grateful to everyone who took part and donated.

If you missed the event but would still like to consider a donation you can do so on our JustGiving page here.

£5k to support online LGBT History Month Events in Scotland

COVID-19 will ensure this years LGBT History Month will be like no other before it, but as a major event in the LGBT+ calendar and as an important way to bring LGBT+ people together online, the show must go on! 

We’re pleased to be working with our friends LGBT Youth Scotland to support LGBT History Month in Scotland with £5000 of ring-fenced funding from our LGBTI Recovery Fund. Funding support of between £50 – £500 will be made available directly to LGBTI community groups and organisations to enable an LGBT History Month event to take place. This fund is now closed to new expressions of interest as we have now allocated over £5k of funding. We’re really looking forward to all the amazing events taking place to mark LGBT history month!

LGBT Youth Scotland will be supporting events to take place across Scotland and have produced an Action Pack to help you take part in this years LGBT History Month. More information on LGBT History Month Scotland can be found on the website here.

The LGBTI Recovery Fund is made possible with support from the Scottish Government Communities Recovery Fund.

 

 

Equality Network welcomes new fairer blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men.

Equality Network welcomes new fairer blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men.

Today we welcome the news that blood donation rules in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, will be changed this summer to remove the discriminatory three month ban on donations from men who have had sex with men.

Scott Cuthbertson, Development Manager said, “We’re delighted with the news that new fairer blood donation rules are being implemented based on an individualised assessment, this is something we have been calling for, for 15 years.”

For the first time since the early ‘80s gay and bisexual men will no longer be judged for who they are in blood donation criteria. Outdated rules which reinforced stigma, and were inconsistent with safer sex messages, will be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

The Equality Network has been campaigning on the issue for many years and we look forward to feeding into the new Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) risk assessment in advance of implementation in the summer of 2021.

The changes will also be implemented in England, Wales and NI.

This is what the Scottish Government have released:

Currently, men are not able to donate blood in the UK if they have had sex with another man in the past three months, in line with previous expert advice.

New recommendations, which the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) is satisfied will continue to ensure blood safety, mean men will no longer be automatically barred from giving blood if they have had sex with another man in the last three months. Instead, everyone will be given a more individual risk assessment, which will involve all potential donors being asked a few additional questions about their sexual behaviours. 

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) will ensure there is information available for donors to explain the reasons for the changes and to give reassurance that all information provided by donors is kept strictly in confidence.

The changes follow recommendations by the specialist steering group for Assessment of Individualised Risk (FAIR) made up of leading medical and academic experts and LGBTI+ groups. 

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“I welcome the recommendations of the FAIR group, which will enable a more individualised risk assessment approach to blood donor safety checks while continuing to ensure the safe supply of blood to patients.

“We are committed to equality and inclusion, and these changes will ensure a fairer and more up to date assessment of risk is applied to both men and women to identify whether donors may be at risk of a blood-borne virus infection.

“I am pleased to announce SNBTS expects to be able to implement these changes by summer 2021. They will be working to prepare their systems and staff for these changes and will also be working to raise awareness of the changes with existing and potential donors in advance.”

SNBTS Director Craig Spalding said:

“We are proud to have been involved in the work that has been undertaken to enable the Scottish Government to make an informed decision on reviewing and changing donor eligibility requirements.

“Donor eligibility based on personal risk assessments, rather than on broader demographic information such as sexuality, is a welcome change.

“We are grateful for all the donors of Scotland and are looking forward to welcoming a broader cross section of the population, in particular those men who have sex with men who will be able to donate blood under the new criteria.”

LGBTI Recovery Fund

We were pleased to announce the £20,000 LGBTI Recovery Fund in January. The fund has now been topped up with an additional £6k and extended until the end of May 2021.

So far during the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been able to distribute over £120,000 directly to LGBTI groups and organisations across Scotland to support their efforts in COVID-19 relief and resilience.

We hope this further £26,000 fund will help in the recovery of LGBTI groups providing vital support to LGBTI people across the country. 

The LGBTI Recovery Fund is made possible through funding from the Scottish Government Communities Recovery Fund.

We have set out the following fund criteria to ensure maximum benefit for LGBTI community organisations and groups across Scotland:

  • LGBTI Groups must be not for profit and LGBTI led.
  • Individuals cannot apply.
  • Requested funds must be for a purpose.
  • The fund is designed primarily for small amounts (Between £50 – £500)
  • Groups must be in Scotland, or deliver work in Scotland.
  • All money must be committed by the 31st May 2021.
  • We are unable to fund duplication.

There may be exceptions, especially to ensure the representation of under represented groups within the LGBTI community, which we are happy to discuss.


The PRIDE Support Fund is a £7.5k fund supporting Scotland’s Pride events, which have been running online during the pandemic, with the cost of technology and mitigation. We want to help ensure Pride’s have the tools to continue inclusive and accessible online events until large public events can take place again once more. Pride and visibility events are an important means to reduce isolation and stigma for LGBTI people and this fund recognises the contribution of Scotland’s Pride events to these aims. Equality Network have already, thanks to our funders, been able to support online visibility and pride events in Scotland with over £25k of support funding in 2020/21. This is part of the LGBTI Recovery Fund and the criteria above applies.


LGBTI organisations and groups in Scotland can express interest in the available funding here. If you are a sports group you should apply via our funding partner LEAP Sports Scotland here.

This funding is to support LGBTI groups and organisations with limited resources and capacity with Equality Network acting as a intermediary organisation to ensure funds go quickly to LGBTI communities that need them most. Organisations looking for larger amounts of funding should apply directly to the Scottish Government Communities Recovery Fund.

Should you have any questions about the fund please contact scott@equality-network.org

Announcing new Scottish Trans Alliance Manager

We’re very sorry to say that James Morton has stepped down as Scottish Trans Alliance Manager, in order to take on a new career opportunity. James has led the STA since it began in 2007, and has grown it to four staff with a leadership role on trans equality in Scotland, so we will really miss him.

James will continue to work part-time for Scottish Trans Alliance as a consultant, for a few months, so he will still be around and helping us! Over the past few weeks, we have conducted an internal recruitment process to fill the STA Manager post, which completed last week.

We are very happy to say that we have appointed Vic Valentine as the new Scottish Trans Alliance Manager, starting from today. Vic was previously a Scottish Trans Alliance Policy Officer. Our recruitment panel, our Board and our staff team are confident that Vic will do a great job!

We’ve three new free training sessions this month – sign up now

These new training sessions taking place in October are free and help LGBTI people support each other as Covid restrictions continue. Please register using the links below.

Improving online LGBTI meetings

https://www.outsavvy.com/event/5140/improving-online-meetings

Online gatherings are here to stay. While many of us are familiar with the mechanics of platforms like Zoom, how confident are we with making sure that online gatherings are a safe, comfortable and empowering experience for all participants? This session will show you how to interact with your participants in more constructive ways than just watching a face on-screen and wondering if they’re actually wearing trousers.

This training session is being run twice on Zoom. You can choose between Monday 12th October (7pm-8:30pm) or Wednesday 14th October (7pm-8:30pm). PDF of the PowerPoint slides for the effective online meetings training session.

LGBTI groups and coping with Covid local lockdown uncertainties

https://www.outsavvy.com/event/5141/coping-with-covid-uncertainties

The ongoing risks of Covid, fluctuating Government rules and temporary local area lockdowns mean that in some ways we are living through a time of greater anxiety and uncertainty for many people than full lockdown was. There are questions about safety, social distancing, and what future small group meetings will be legal. As we face several more months of fluctuating restrictions, this session will help you think about the best ways to support your LGBTI group members to cope with Covid uncertainties.

This training session is being run twice on Zoom. You can choose between Monday 19th October (7pm-8:30pm) or Wednesday 21st October (7pm-8:30pm). PDF of the PowerPoint slides for the LGBTI groups and coping with Covid lockdown training session.

Organising LGBTI events in a socially distanced world

https://www.outsavvy.com/event/5145/events-in-a-socially-distanced-world

Events are important to LGBTI communities, both in terms of fostering a community spirit and sense of belonging and in terms of challenging discrimination and raising public awareness of LGBTI rights. With fluctuating Covid restrictions and a number of unknowns, how do we start thinking about future events such as LGBTI group meetings, conferences, training events, Prides and protests for the next several months? This session will help you plan successful community events in a complex and unpredictable year.

This training session is being run twice on Zoom. You can choose between Monday 26th October (7pm-8:30pm) or Wednesday 28th October (7pm-8:30pm). PDF of the PowerPoint slides for the events in a socially distanced world training session.

LGBTQ Fund – Apply

Apply for a grant for your LGBTQ+ led group or organisation
 

 

**Applications to this fund have now closed**

About the Fund

The LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Fund is funded by Comic Relief, and METRO is the lead intermediary partner distributing these funds to the sector, with Equality Network as the Scottish delivery partner.

The Fund will operate in every nation of the UK, and its delivery will be supported by delivery partners in each nation.

Other delivery partners are:

  • NAZ
  • The Rainbow Project
  • Umbrella Cymru
  • Yorkshire MESMAC
  • Birmingham LGBT

The Fund is for LGBTQ+ community-led organisations and groups to support their vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Five regional panels will assess and allocate the funds.

The five Panels will be for the following areas:

  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales
  • North and Midlands of England
  • South of England

Are we eligible to apply?

Applications are open to groups and organisations with an annual turnover under £100,000.

Your group or organisation must also:

  • Consist of 3 or more people
  • Be led by LGBTQ+ staff or volunteers (if you are a group within a larger organisation, then the staff/volunteers leading on this proposed project should identify as LGBTQ+)
  • Be not-for-profit
  • Be committed to equality and dignity for all LGBTQ+ people, including trans people

What types of projects will be funded?

The fund is intended to support grassroots, local groups and organisations who can support LGBTQ+ communities through the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

  • Awards will be between £500 – £15,000 (Award levels: micro up to £500 or £1,000, small up to £5,000, medium up to £10,000, and large up to £15,000) 
  • Each organisation/group can only apply for one grant, not multiple grants adding up to £15,000
  • Funding must be used by July 2021
  • Public sector organisations cannot apply for funding, nor can they hold any of the funding on behalf of other organisations
  • Projects should address the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector

The programme will not fund:

  • Individuals
  • Items which are due to be paid for by other public or private sector grants
  • Statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties
  • Liabilities incurred prior to the date of this agreement
  • All paid for events, conferences and exhibitions, including hire of venues for ‘purely’ promotional events
  • Projects that are purely based around marketing/communications such as newsletter projects or advertising campaigns
  • Projects that are purely making payments to statutory organisations, such as Local Authorities, schools, the Police Force and arm’s length public sector organisations. This includes organisations that are in any way controlled by, for example, a Local Authority, a Clinical Commissioning Group or agencies of these
  • Any party-political activity
  • Activity where the key purpose is to promote a religious doctrine or the beliefs of a particular faith
  • Commercial ventures
  • Funding of organisations which support or promote extremist views or which do not support human rights; equality before the law, democracy and full participation in UK society

How do we apply?

Small grants applications will close on 22nd September 2020.

Medium/Large grants applications will close on 30th September 2020.

You must submit your completed application by emailing it to niazy.hazeldine@metrocharity.org.uk by 5pm on the relevant closing date.

There are two separate application forms:

Please ensure you submit using the correct application form.

For small grants applications (under £5,000), you may choose to submit a video application. If you choose to submit in this way, you will need to ensure that all questions in the application form are covered in your video. If there is another format you would like to use to present your proposal, please do get in contact with us.

How will funding be awarded?

METRO will do an initial sift of applications to sift out applications which have not been completed or are not eligible. The remaining applications will then be sent to the relevant regional Panel.

Alongside assessing for quality, we are also aiming to ensure that, as far as possible, the whole geography of the UK and the intersections of the LGBTQ+ community are represented in the funding. This will guide the panels’ assessment process.

For small grants (under £5,000)

For small grants:

  1. the relevant regional Panel will first assess your application form/video
  2. The Panel will then shortlist applications
  3. Shortlisted applications will be invited to a short, Dragons Den style interview.
  4. The panel will then recommend successful applicants to the Partnership Board, who will award the funding.

All applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Project design is of high quality
  • Feasible project delivery
  • Excellent value for money*
  • Clear need for the project in the community*
  • Excellent monitoring and evidence sharing plans*
  • Reasonable governance of the project is in place*

For small grants, you will be assessed on the first two criteria with your application form/video, and then the starred criteria at interview stage.

For medium/large grants (over £5,000)

If you are applying for a grant of over £5,000, you will cover all criteria in your written application. The Panels will award successful grants based solely on your written application.

All applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Project design is of high quality
  • Feasible project delivery
  • Excellent value for money
  • Clear need for the project in the community
  • Excellent monitoring and evidence sharing plans
  • Reasonable governance of the project is in place

What will happen at the interview stage?

Medium/Large applications will not be interviewed, they will be decided by application only.  

Shortlisted small grants applicants will be invited to a Dragons Den style interview with the relevant regional Panel.

The interview will be:

  • 30 minutes long
  • Held via Zoom
  • Attended by 3-4 regional Panel members

At the interview you will need to:

  • Present your idea in 5 minutes or under (PowerPoint presentations are not necessary, but could be used if you wish)
  • Answer follow-up questions about your project
  • Answer questions about why your project is needed in the community
  • Answer questions about how you plan to capture data and share stories from your project
  • Answer questions about how you plan to keep those you work with safe (Safeguarding)
  • Answer questions about how you plan to keep information about those you work with secure (data protection)
  • If you plan to have paid staff, or volunteers, you will be asked about how you will make sure you have safe and legal working practices
  • How you will manage the finances
  • There may also be other questions that come up, depending on your application

If you are not sure about any of these questions, METRO will be offering training on these areas. If you are a small group/organisation who has not thought about these things before, please get in contact with METRO so that they can support you.

Can we get help with our application?

Please do get in contact with us if you would like some support with your application. We are happy to support you, especially if you do not frequently engage with funding and grants processes. You can email scott@equality-network.org. You can also email contact METRO either by emailing niazy.hazeldine@metrocharity.org.uk or call them at 020 8305 5000.

In other parts of the UK you can also contact your local partner for support:

Most local areas of the UK will also have a Community Voluntary Services who can support you. To see if your area has one, you can check on the following sites:

What will we need to do if successful?

METRO Charity will send you a grant acceptance email, which includes a declaration that you accept the terms and conditions of the grant, and will also ask for your bank details so that we can pay you (if relevant). You will need to complete this and send back to niazy.hazeldine@metrocharity.org.uk.

We will have several scheduled phone calls with you during the delivery of your project, during which you will need to update METRO with details about how your project is running. We will provide further support at this stage where needed.

We will ask for some case studies from your work, half way through and at the end. This may not be applicable, depending on the size and scope of your project.

METRO will also be collating video evidence of projects supported by the fund. You may be asked to provide some video footage of aspects of your project delivery, if this is appropriate to the project you are running.

Once your project is finished you must submit a monitoring form that details how your project went, and the money you actually spent. METRO will provide a template for this report. You will need to return any unspent funds to METRO.

Downloads

 

£585,000 of emergency funding for LGBTQ+ organisations and groups

LGBTQ+ organisations and groups across the UK will soon be able to apply for grants of up to £15,000 to support their vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

METRO Charity in partnership with NAZ, Equality Network, The Rainbow Project, Umbrella Cymru, Yorkshire MESMAC and Birmingham LGBT, will be cascading the £585,000 fund from Comic Relief, raised from ‘The Big Night In’.

The partners will be convening grants panels in each nation – Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England to ensure the maximum reach to grassroots community-led LGBTQ+ organisations across the UK. Organisations and groups with income under £100,000 will be able to apply for over 100 grants ranging from £500 to £15,000.

Scott Cuthbertson at Equality Network said, “LGBTI groups and organisations across Scotland have been hit hard by COVID-19, having to adapt to a whole new challenging environment, while continuing to provide vital social support and services. We’re pleased to be the Scottish organisation, working with partner organisations across the UK, on disseminating this much needed Comic Relief funding. With COVID-19 there will undoubtedly be challenges to come, and I’m glad that we are addressing them together.”

Jacqueline Onalo, Comic Relief Trustee said, “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on many grassroot projects, especially those supporting diverse LGBTQ+ communities, has been truly devastating. Our ring-fenced funding aims to directly address these inequalities and empower LGBTQ+ led organisations, with specialist expertise, to support grassroot local projects that are a lifeline to the people they help. Comic Relief has a long and proud history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community and I hope this funding will make a real difference throughout the pandemic and its recovery.”

Dr Greg Ussher, CEO at METRO Charity said, “We couldn’t agree more with Comic Relief’s identification that LGBTQ+ grassroots community-led organisations need support right now to ensure that they can in turn support LGBTQ+ communities across the UK through this pandemic and beyond. We are very pleased to be working with partners in each of the UK nations to maximise the reach of the fund and the diversity of organisations and groups we will collectively be encouraging to apply.

“As delivery organisations ourselves, we already have first-hand experience of the needs of LGBTQ+ communities and the new and increased demands placed on services – especially around mental health and isolation – and the challenges these bring.

“We are delighted to be continuing our long-term relationship with Comic Relief and of course with our delivery partners.”

Parminder Sekhon, Interim CEO at NAZ said, “Small community BAME led and BAME LGBTQ+ led organisations are the backbone of the voluntary sector and are built on the principle of self-organisation and self-mobilisation. We need to protect small organisations delivering vital frontline services, plugging the gap of unmet need during this health and economic crisis, because we are going to need them even more as we move into recovery.

“BAME LGBTQ+ people have been and continue to be, at significant risk of poor health and wellbeing outcomes, often on the margins of an already underserved population group. COVID-19 has exacerbated and magnified that risk. NAZ is so pleased to be part of this partnership, distributing grants to amazing LGBTQ+ and Black LGBTQ+ organisations delivering lifeline health and wellbeing services up and down the country, keeping LGBTQ+ people safe, connected and supported. Thank you Comic Relief.”

**Applications to this fund have now closed**

Funding Notes:

  • The LGBTQ+ Sector COVID-19 Fund will be opening for applications this summer.
  • The programme is funded by Comic Relief.
  • The funding cascade partnership is led by METRO Charity and delivered in partnership with NAZ, Equality Network, The Rainbow Project, Umbrella Cymru, Yorkshire MESMAC and Birmingham LGBT.
  • Grants will be available in a number of sizes up to the following: £500, £1,000, £5,000, £10,000 and £15,000, with a total grant fund of £585,000.
  • Applications will be accepted from LGBTQ+ community-led organisations and groups with an income under £100,000.
  • Grants panels will be convened across the UK: in Scotland led by the Equality Network, in Northern Ireland led by The Rainbow Project, in Wales led by Umbrella Cymru, by Yorkshire MESMAC for the north of England and the midlands, by METRO Charity for London and the south of England. Supported by NAZ and Birmingham LGBT.

About the partners:

  • METRO is a leading equality and diversity charity delivering services across London and the South East, with national and international projects. They support anyone experiencing issues around sexuality, gender, equality, diversity and identity across their five domains: Sexual & Reproductive Health, Community, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Youth and HIV. To find out more visit metrocharity.org.uk.
  • NAZ is a BAME-led sexual health agency working to address sexual health inequalities in BAME communities. They have 29 years of experience working across London to provide culturally specific interventions to BAME communities disproportionately impacted by poor sexual, reproductive and HIV health compared to their white counterparts. They have national reach through their events and some programmes. NAZ was born out of the necessity to make a response to the health inequalities faced by BAME & BAME LGBTQ+ people across London during the HIV pandemic. 30 years later we are facing similar inequalities under the COVID-19 pandemic. NAZ work across four key areas: Care and Support Services to people impacted and living with HIV, Sexual health prevention and promotions services, Clinical Services: HIV/ Selected STI pop up services and Psychotherapeutic counselling, Research, Influencing and Policy. To find our more visit naz.org.uk.
  • The Equality Network is a leading charity working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights in Scotland. To find out more visit equality-network.org.
  • The Rainbow Project works to promote the health and wellbeing of LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland through research and campaigning and through the provisions of health and wellbeing services including counselling, sexual health testing, hate crime advocacy in addition to peer and social support. To find out more visit rainbow-project.org.
  • Umbrella Cymru is a gender and sexual diversity support specialist organisation that provides a range of services to people across Wales. Their teams, managed by qualified registered social workers, work with LGBTQ+ people of all ages individually, in groups or with family and partners, to develop and deliver free tailored support to help them achieve their goals. The organisation provides a range of services from information and signposting to emotional and practical support. Umbrella Cymru has recently partnered with a Health Board to jointly provide the Welsh Gender Service (the only GIC in Wales) working alongside all Health Boards in Wales to deliver local care and support to trans and non-binary people including, medical and psychosocial support and interventions. To find out more visit umbrellacymru.co.uk.
  • Yorkshire MESMAC is one of the oldest and largest sexual health charities in the country. They offer services to most at risk communities across Yorkshire, including men who have sex with men, African and other BAME people, people using drugs, sex workers and LGBT+ young people and adults. To find out more visit mesmac.co.uk.
  • Birmingham LGBT is the city’s leading charity advocating for and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities in Birmingham and beyond. They offer a range of services focused on improving the health & wellbeing of individuals. They also believe passionately that Birmingham should be one of the best places in the UK for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) people to live, work and socialise, and work to enable a thriving, visible and PROUD LGBT community in the city. To find out more visit blgbt.org.
  • Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives. Through humour and stories of hope, we’ve shown that people can make a massive difference. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or living in extreme poverty, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with mental health issues.