Paris: The only Support for Newham’s LGBT young people
We're raising money to ensure the survival of ‘Paris’, our youth group that's dedicated to the needs of LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender or Questioning) young people in Newham.
Paris gives 13-19 year olds the chance to explore their identity through a fun weekly session that allows members to make friendships in a safe and supported environment. Paris staff offer intensive mentoring for young people who are struggling or in crisis and, importantly, the project delivers educational sessions: equipping teachers and other youth providers with the skills to properly support LGBTQ young people.
“Faggot! Boy-Girl! Dyke! These are words that society has labelled us as and who do we turn to, to talk to about this, there’s only one place and that’s Paris.”
Evidence from Stonewall suggests that 65% of LGBTQ young people experience homophobic bullying at school. There is a higher prevalence among LGBTQ young people of depression, damaging behaviours and, most worryingly of all, of suicide. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 4 will attempt to take their own life.
Paris (the name chosen by the group’s members) has worked with 35 LGBTQ young people, with 14 now attending its regular weekly session.
Our work helps our young people to grow in confidence, become more resilient to the world around them and learn to deal more successfully with conflict. Learning about safe sex and respect in relationships, we help our young people make better decisions. This year, four of the group have moved from being in damaging situations or struggling at school, to looking forward to starting university in September.
"Paris is important as it helps people accept themselves, and in times when they’re not necessarily at their best. Like, when I came I was in the mind-set that it’s so wrong to be gay but I just couldn’t change it. Two years on I’m now saying it’s okay to be gay, it’s great."
Paris has very little funding and there is a real possibility that without it, the group may close. Neither Aston-Mansfield nor the group’s members want this to happen - Paris has changed the lives of LGBTQ young people in Newham and can continue to do so. We need to raise just £6,000 per year to ensure our work continues and these vulnerable young people are supported to become healthy, resilient and successful young adults.
We're determined to fight for these young people and we're asking for your support to help us with this.