With June being Pride month in the UK, we caught up with Community Learning and Development (CLD) workers Grace Cameron
(left) and Stacey Robertson
(right) to talk about the service's Bronze LGBT Charter
What does CLD do? A huge part of what we do is work in partnership with other organisation and individuals to co-produce services that meet the needs of the most disadvantaged young people, adults, families, and communities within the Falkirk Council area. We do this through youth clubs, outreach work, school-based work, and by working with health and social care, various community groups and committees.
What is the charter? Created by LGBT Youth Scotland, the charter is a straightforward programme that enables organisations and schools to proactively include LGBT+ people in every aspect of their work.
Why did you apply to become chartered? We had been working with several young people who identified as LGBT+ and wanted to create a better understanding across the service of how best to meet their needs.
What did you have to do to gain the bronze status? We identified 'LGBT+ Charter Champions’ within the service and worked through a digital logbook of activities around the themes of leadership, training, policy, practice, visibility, and monitoring and evaluation.
LGBT Youth Scotland commended the video we produced to celebrate Pride and Purple Friday as well as raise awareness of other identities such as asexuality and trans identities.
We were also commended for encouraging young people to learn about the different pride flags and for our challenge to create their own flag. Entries included a Pride inspired garden ornament, a trans flag created in Minecraft, and cakes decorated as flags.
Another area LGBT Youth Scotland highlighted as good practice was our trans-inclusive youth work guidance for youth clubs.
How has the accreditation benefitted CLD? Becoming accredited gave us an opportunity to look at our existing practice and make changes that have allowed us to evolve and become a more inclusive service. Over 50% of CLD staff attended the training. During the evaluation, they all said they’d learnt so much and were more comfortable and confident when speaking to and supporting young people who identify as LGBT+. Our next steps are to deliver training to the rest of the service and our CLD volunteers.
What did the process teach you? That the small changes we were making – creating gender neutral posters, becoming more visible as a service, putting in place trans-inclusive guidelines for youth clubs – were helping to create safer spaces for LGBT+ people to be themselves.
Why do you think other services should go for accreditation? Creating safe spaces for young people and people in general, to be themselves, and have workers and services validate who they are, can be the difference between life and death.
It also provides a judgement-free zone to critically ask questions and challenge existing views and practices supported by LGBT Youth Scotland. By undertaking this work, it will help services create inclusive spaces and increase knowledge of where to signpost people if they need help or support.