A Scots project which works with LGBT people over the age of 50 has been saved from closure after a funding boost by The Scottish Government.
LGBT Health & Wellbeing, which carries out work in Edinburgh and Glasgow, has announced three-year funding for the LGBT Age service. The new funding comes from the Equality Unit’s ‘Promoting Equality and Cohesion Fund’ which will enable the charity to continue to deliver social activities, support and to raise awareness of the experiences and needs of LGBT people as they age.
LGBT Health and Wellbeing Chief Executive, Maruska Greenwood said,
“This award is fantastic news. It means we can continue to provide vital support for older LGBT people in Edinburgh and Glasgow.”
“This is the generation that had to fight hard for equality, yet now older LGBT people find they are often overlooked. Having lived a great part of their life in much less liberal times, individuals are understandably frequently reluctant to use support services as they fear not feeling welcome or accepted.”
“We know the LGBT Age Project makes a real difference to individuals, providing them with one-to-one support, information and a safe and welcoming social space where they can be themselves without that fear of prejudice or discrimination.”
“Through LGBT Age we will also continue to provide a vital voice for older LGBT people to enable them to tell their stories and ensure that older people’s services become more inclusive and responsive to their needs.”
Despite the grant of £60,000 per year between 2017 and 2020, a popular befriending service for older people did not attract funding and will now close. A support worker will also reduce to 28hrs per week in order to maintain the service. LGBT Health will also receive £20,000 per year over 3 years for the LGBT Helpline service, which operates on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 12pm and 9pm.
In an LGBT Health survey in 2013, with 182 responses from older LGBT people in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the charity found that work to tackle social isolation was a particular priority – 76% of respondents said they’d welcome opportunities to meet other LGBT people socially and a further 45% expressed fear of loneliness as they age. Participants commented that the ‘gay scene’ in both cities seems more tailored to a younger market and had similar concerns about Pride events.
A Scottish Government report, ‘Sexual Orientation in Scotland’ released in January 2017, outlines a number of outcomes relating to LGB people from the Scottish Surveys Core Questions, including that 72% of LGB people would describe themselves as single. As this population age, they are less likely to have support networks such as children or grandchildren to provide care and support, meaning services such as LGBT Age are even more critical.
The LGBT Age project counter these issues through work which is affirmative of LGBT identities and of ageing. The project provides support and social events that enable individuals to make friends, strengthen their support networks and create an age-positive sense of LGBT community.
For more information on LGBT Age please visit the website below: