The LGBT Foundation in Manchester have reported a large increase in the number of calls to its crisis line ever since the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were implemented.
The uncertainty and fear about the coronavirus is heightened for vulnerable members of the LGBT+ community, who must now worry about not only the virus but other factors such as the possibility of having to isolate with abusive family members or missing sexual health appointments.
These worries were among many more that filled the foundation’s phone lines with the organisation receiving the highest number of calls this year over just one five-day period last month.
In order to combat some of this loneliness and fear, the Manchester LGBT Foundation have launched their new Rainbow Brew Buddies service to give support to the most vulnerable members of the community during the COVID-19 outbreak. The aim of the “telephone befriending programme” is to reach people across Greater Manchester who may have reduced opportunities to make social connections due to either the coronavirus outbreak or other circumstances in their life.
The buddy-system will link those who have registered for the service with a “buddy” who has received training from LGBT Foundation and have passed a DBS check. Then the pair will talk over the phone while having a cup of tea at least once a week for around 30 minutes for eight sessions over one or two months. The recipient will then be given access to a range of LGBT Foundation Manchester groups, including the chance to meet others who have benefited from the Brew Buddies programme.
The hope is that Rainbow Brew Buddies will provide a safe space for LGBT+ people to remain social and give them an outlet to talk about how they are feeling amid the global crisis.
Although the service is only available in Manchester many organisations across Ireland have been working to put similar support groups and initiatives into place as the nation continues its lockdown. GCN is working hard to keep you up to date on any additional services and support being provided for the community during this time, as well as doing our best to keep you entertained while stuck at home.
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