Mayo will be opening the doors to its first LGBT+ drop-in centre on Saturday, January 18. Located in Castlebar, there are going to be plenty of “board games, books, tea and coffee and lots of space for people to relax and hangout,” said OutWest Group Vice-Chairperson John.
This is a fantastic opportunity for the LGBT+ community in Mayo as the space will provide a great atmosphere of socialisation and relaxation. The centre will be based in Le Chéile Family Resource Centre with doors opening each Saturday between 12:45pm to 2.45pm.
OutWest are proud to launch this exciting new centre for the community. The group are a long-running Connacht based LGBT+ advocacy group, set up in 1997. Since then, they have launched numerous amazing initiatives and their latest project is a great addition.
Group Chairperson Aurélie said, “Being LGBT+ in the West of Ireland can be an isolating experience but there is also wonderful community here. Since 1997 OutWest has been supporting and building the LGBT+ community in the west. Our new drop-in centre is the next step in that process.”
Vice-Chairperson John further added, “We want the drop-in to be an open and welcoming space for all members of the LGBT+ community and our allies.”
In 2017, Castlebar hosted Mayo’s first ever Pride, which has become a fierce annual tradition. One of the organisers for the 2019 Parade, Cathy Blake, said, “Mayo is a rural county with mainly small towns and villages, there are no gay bars and only a few known LGBT+ friendly venues. The community can often feel isolated and alone. Pride gives them a sense of belonging and pride in themselves and in their own county.”
Cathy further expressed, “I hope that the community will look after and support one another. It’s so much easier to talk to someone who understands you, so reach out to just one person who is confused, alone or feeling vulnerable and offer them support. Discourage discrimination and victimisation – promote ‘Unity in the Community’ (the theme of Mayo Pride).”
With the announcement of the new LGBT+ drop-in centre in Mayo, a sense of unity and community has truly been carried into 2020. This exciting new space will be a great opportunity for the community to come together. Vice-Chairperson John has also called on members of the community to help out on the project, “If anyone is interested in getting involved, we’d ask them to get in contact with us at [email protected].”
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