The LGBT+ Project, a group hosted by the Clonmel Community Resource Centre, have shared the host of support groups and classes they provide for LGBT+ people to avail of. With a definite lack of LGBT+ support groups in rural areas, news of these services are incredibly welcome.
Gerard Sweetman, the LGBT+ Health Support Worker in the centre, told us: “This is a big issue for supports in rural areas. Although we have our supports in place I would receive emails and calls regarding transport to get to and from the groups. We are based in Clonmel and although we do offer email and phone support, sometimes it’s the interaction with others people want and to not feel isolated or just to meet others that are going through same or similar experiences as them.
“At the moment we are doing our best to offer what we can to the LGBT+ community and in an ideal world we would love groups or supports set up in each village or town but that won’t happen anytime soon. That’s why it’s so important to get the message out there that we do have these supports available.”
Gerard continued, “People come to our groups for all different reasons. Some come for the social side of things to meet others and make new friends. Some need more support than others and we offer that support by sometimes just listening to them and sharing experiences. We offer a friendly one-to-one chat as some may not like, or be ready for, a group setting yet.”
The LGBT+ Project, which is funded by the HSE social inclusion CHO5 area, offers an LGB+ adult group every second Tuesday of each month from 7-9pm, and a trans adult support group the last Thursday of each month from 7.30-9pm in the centre in Clonmel. The centre also holds art classes every third Wednesday from 7-9pm, paving the way for an art exhibition in November. Gerard elaborated “If you can’t make the art classes but would like to enter a piece into our exhibition, we would love to hear from you. It can be anything from drawing, painting poetry, short stories and real life stories.”
While the activities are for people of 18 years and over, Gerard is happy to advise people under that age who get in contact on relevant support groups.
Gerard welcomed any LGBT+ folk interested in attending, “Our groups offer a safe space where others can share anything that’s going on their lives or look for support through others in the group. It’s a relaxed and welcoming environment where you can have a cuppa and be yourself.”
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