COULD PERTHSHIRE HOST THE NEXT LGBT CENTRE IN SCOTLAND?

Perthshire could be the next locality with its own LGBT+ Centre in Scotland, as talks continue with local stakeholders on how to improve the services available in the community.

For the past few months, Pink Saltire have been conducting a consultation with groups and community members, in a Perth & Kinross Council-funded initiative. Our progress report has now been published, outlining a number of key findings so far. These include:

  • exploring wider partnerships with other agencies and bodies where it makes any Hub bid more effective
  • options for a hub which included a dedicated or shared public space with a non-alcohol focus were most popular
  • security and accessibility were recognised as key priorities for any hub
  • further consultation with the community would be undertaken when COVID restrictions are eased

The study was spearheaded by our Community Support Worker, Matt Wester, who highlights the need for continuing dialogue with interested partners and stakeholders. Local organisations such as Perthshire Pride, the Perth Parrots Floorball Club, Transgender Perth and LGBT Youth Scotland’s local GLOW youth group, all helped contribute to the study.

Research conducted by Pink Saltire into the effect of lockdown and COVID on LGBT+ people in Scotland found that 2 out of 3 LGBT adults had faced isolation or loneliness and 1 in 3 didn’t know where to turn for help. 54% of those surveyed by the charity said they’ve missed physical spaces for LGBT+ people, mainly offered in Scotland’s larger cities.

It was also important to recognise learning from the experiences of LGBT hubs established around the UK, including Four Pillars in Aberdeen, the new Hive LGBT Centre in Kirkcaldy and LGBThq in Cumbria. The study sets out the next steps in a shared ambition to establish a some kind of dedicated community hub for Perth.

David McPhee, Equalities Team Leader at Perth & Kinross Council, said:

“[We] are pleased to see the progress made for this much needed research undertaken during very difficult times.  We will continue to work closely with Pink Saltire and members of the local LGBT+ community as the work continues to seek a satisfactory outcome which meets local need into the future”

Speaking as the coordinator of the research, Matt Wester said:

“The support of Perth & Kinross Council, plus all the groups, organisations and individuals that have helped make the conversations happen, has been incredible. Through their responsive partnership approach from the beginning, stakeholders have really brought together the ideas and vision for what we hope will one day become a reality for those living in the region. It’s now important to keep these discussions going, continuing to build links with others and really see how we progress from this initial scoping study.”

“As we at move ever closer to opening The Hive LGBT Centre in Fife, and with more and more examples of successful community hubs models around the UK, I hope Perth & Kinross will be one of the next places to benefit from investment in such a community facility and safe space.”

We hope to continue the conversation about an LGBT Hub with community members when COVID restrictions are lifted over the summer.

Smeaton’s Bridge in Perth lit up in the transgender flag colours, 2020 © Pink Saltire

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