The much loved and necessary LGBT+ resource centre, Teach Solais in Galway, will be forced to close its doors in November due to a lack of funding.
The centre, which is run by AMACH! LGBT Galway, a registered charity with a volunteer board, has been an invaluable lifeline to the queer community in the West. Fully reliant on funding applications, donations, fundraisers and community volunteers to keep Teach Solais operating, the group have applied to the HSE for core funding over the years, but to little success.
The group stated: “The most recent application to cover a full-time resource centre manager, an outreach worker for the county and running costs of the centre was unsuccessful; though we were awarded €1,000. We appreciate that the HSE is under pressure to fund many worthy health and wellbeing services, but this is truly a disappointment for this voluntary group that caters for an under-resourced minority group in the west of Ireland.”
Based on a forecasted budget, Teach Solais will be forced to close its doors in November 2019.
A host of activities are run from Teach Solais, including peer support groups, the Galway branch of the LGBT Helpline, free HIV testing by AIDS West, cultural competency and social inclusion training for professional service providers working with member of the LGBT+ community and the countless social and wellbeing events. The loss will be a huge impact to the community.
Sharon Nolan of the Social Democrats said: “There seems to be a huge overlooking of the vital role Teach Solais plays in the health and wellbeing of our LGBT+ community in the West of Ireland. As a volunteer with the centre, chairperson of Galway Community Pride and an LGBT woman, I see first-hand every week the necessary role the centre provides for the community.”
“LGBT+ resource centres in other parts of Ireland qualify for funding through the HSE, and it’s increasingly frustrating to see Teach Solais being denied this same funding. There is a huge LGBT+ community all across Ireland that deserves similar opportunities for outlets as that living in Dublin and Cork. We have an LGBT bar and a Pride week every August, but these alone are not adequate community supports all year round.”
The value of the services provided by Teach Solais and its volunteers, and its importance as a safe space for the community in Galway can never be underestimated @GCNmag @BeLonG_To @ShoutOut_IE #SaveourTeachSolais pic.twitter.com/NZgZ8ZDfkP
— RC Shine (@ConShineX) March 11, 2019
Nolan continued: “Rural isolation and mental health struggles are still huge issues within our LGBT+ community in 2019. Teach Solais helps combat this by providing a safe and accessible community space where people are not held back due to costs or access needs. It also has meant our community has more thriving community currently active as they do not need to cover overheads like room rentals and running costs to exist. With sustainable funding, Teach Solais would even be able to expand the outreach and supports they’re providing. Without it, the loss of Teach Solais would do irreversible damage to the local LGBT+ community.”
AMACH! LGBT are hosting a public meeting on Friday March 29 at 7.30pm in Teach Solais, LGBT+ Resource Centre, No.1 Victoria Place, Merchants Road, Galway city. They welcome those who want to support the campaign for sustainable funding to come along and ask the public contact their local representatives to ask them to pledge their support behind Teach Solais.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
For 30 years GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community. We want to go on providing this community hub in print and online, helping countless individuals across the country, but the revenue from advertising across the media is falling.
GCN needs your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from only €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.