The Network was contacted towards the end of 2020 by a national level Green Party officer on request to complete a survey/consultation on the need for a dedicated, pioneering approach of a multiagency (local authorities and relevant public service organisations [NHS, etc.]) and LGBT+ community and private sector combined initiative on supporting our LGBT+ homeless & rough sleeping community.
The Network has long been aware of this particularly vulnerable and suffering section of our broader LGBT+ community and been seeking the right moment to support its members. The contact mentioned provided this. The proposer asked us if we could also support by contacting advised relevant local government, public service, community, ‘third sector’ voluntary and community organisations.
The Network was very pleased to provide this support, and understood that the proposer had some considerable disappointment in the BCP & Dorset County area in the approaches they had made. Happily, we were delighted to succeed with securing a very positive response (they completed the survey, and sent us a very positive email on wishing to take the initiative up and work with us at the Network) by the ‘BCP Council Homelessness Partnership.’
This in turn some 10+ weeks ago led to very positive email communication, and video and conference call engagement with the BCP Homelessness Partnership lead. The result of which was detailed work by the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network on our long-wished initiative to provide comprehensive LGBT+ BCP area LGBT+ homeless and rough sleeping multi-agency support. The Network was subsequently invited to join the BCP Homelessness Partnership, which we have done, and advised creation of a dedicated component of the Partnership to be led by the Network on behalf of the LGBT+ community and with the support of LGBT+ Community, Network partner groups/organisations.
As to date the BCP Council Partnership had lacked any LGBT+ dimension or dedicated LGBT+ membership (that includes BU, the NHS organisations, private sector housing associations, the DWP [that the Network is very Proud to work directly with], and others such as a number of religious & churches associated organisations), we have understood that this may present in the short-term a challenge to the Partnership in terms of incorporating a dedicated LGBT+ dimension to the Partnership. However, the Network has made the breakthrough with the Partnership, itself directly connected to BCP Council through funding and supportive enablement. The Partnership lead has accepted very clearly that there has been a longstanding need for a dedicated LGBT+ homeless & rough sleeping community BCP area support need and will be supporting the Network on leading on delivering this support.
Bournemouth itself has the 5th or 6th highest level LGBT+ community percentage in the UK, and respected recent national level research has shown that the younger persons age category (approximately 16 – 24 years of age) has indicated that in that age category no less than 24%+ of young homeless belong to the LGBT+ and LGBTQ communities.
These critical level support needs were presented to the BCP Council Homelessness Partnership lead, prompting enthusiastic acceptance of the proposal by the Network for providing through and also alongside the Partnership, and a recognition that until the time of our approach – arising from the national level Green Party LGBT+ survey support approach – there had been minimal engagement or strategic support in regard to Diverse Communities (BAME, LGBT+, etc.) by the Partnership.
We are very pleased that our representation to the BCP Council Homelessness Partnership has been successful, and prompted a major rethink on its Diverse Communities, and especially LGBT+ Community Homeless and Rough Sleeping community engagement.
We are particularly pleased that through this new partnership [with the Partnership] can play a valuable part in the BCP area LGBT+ homeless and rough sleeping community support that we have now initiated, and includes strategic partnership & collaboration with the most relevant pan-Dorset area NHS organisation (Dorset Healthcare).
The Network will be providing news in late February on our support services to our BCP area LGBT+ homeless & rough sleeping community, that embrace signposting, information resource provision for all relevant homelessness & rough sleeping community members engagement & support providers – private, 3rd Sector, and public sector — in the BCP area.