DIRECT HELP FOR LGBT PEOPLE AT GRASSROOTS LEVEL:
- Addressing the problems of social and geographical isolation faced by LGBT people in the Highlands through the organisation of social events and outdoor activities.
We do this by publicising events organised by groups such as Swans, LGBT Moray, etc.
- Acting as a source of information where people can learn about available health & wellbeing services and other LGBT groups.
We do this via phone, email, website, newsletter, information stands at events, etc. and can signpost people to other agencies.
- Providing a link between LGBT people and other agencies involved in working in LGBT issues and initiatives related to equality & diversity
- Responding to consultations and surveys - with a view to being the voice of the LGBT community and helping inform policymakers of community needs, good practice, etc.
- Raising awareness of LGBT issues
We do this by networking events, and attending the meetings of other organisations such as Police Scotland, Waverley Care, conferences by Highland Council, NHS Highland, etc. In addition, the very existence and active presence of the Forum as a charity in the Highlands can have an impact in its own right.
COMMITTEE / TRUSTEES
Committee meetings are usually held once a month at the Spectrum Centre in Inverness. All members are welcome. If you would like to join us, please get in touch.
The Forum is an independent, self-governing organisation, and is a registered charity.
In April 2008, The Highland LGBT Forum was awarded charitable status by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). The Highland LGBT Forum is a charity registered in Scotland No. SC039528.
Awards for All Scotland awarded the Highland LGBT Forum a grant of £7,580 which we used to hold successful events in Nairn, Fort William, Thurso, Portree, Kirkwall and Lerwick in 2013. Our thanks also go to speakers from Stonewall Scotland, Equality Network, Northern Constabulary, NHS Highland, BIHR and Highlands & Islands Equality Forum.
- In March we hosted a ground-breaking seminar on homosexuality and LGBT faith issues with Ruairidh Macrae from CourageSCOTLAND and Rev Peter Nimmo. This was funded by Highland Council.
- We ran a training session for volunteers at RAL (Rape and Abuse Line, Dingwall) which was well received by the participants.
- We have organised three discos for LGBT people and friends in Inverness, with another one planned for Halloween.
- We have run information stalls at Inverness College (Midmills and Longman), Inverness Highland Games and the launch of the public sector Highland LGBT staff network.
- Our ongoing work includes supporting monthly LGBT social events and activities (Pink Castle Philosophy Club, Forum ForMEN, Girlzone, etc.), sending out our monthly newsletter, maintaining our web site, meetings with local statutory bodies (NHS, police, council), and liaising with national LGBT bodies. We are also offering support to a number of contacts across the Highlands by phone and email.
- We received a grant of £1000 from the Voluntary Action Fund. Highland Council awarded us £1200 for our LGBT faith seminar events. Awards for All Scotland gave us a grant of £7,580.
- The Forum wrote to the local press in response to homophobic letters in the newspapers and we were asked to contribute comments for an article in the Highland News about equal marriage.
- As well as organising parties for Valentine's Day & Halloween, the Forum started up regular LGBT social events in Inverness (curry nights & coffee mornings) and supported the activities of a new LGBT-friendly running group.
- We ran information stands at two freshers' fairs in Inverness, Aberdeen Pride, Inverness Highland Games and an equality & diversity night in Thurso.
- Some of our trustees attended the annual Equality Network conference and seminars on the Equality Act 2010. Trustees also attend meetings of the Waverley Care Highland Advisory Group and the Northern Constabulary Community Advisory Group.
- Highland Council and NHS Highland have been consulting us on equality issues and this collaboration will continue in 2012.
- The Forum organised two networking afternoons in 2011 for over 30 people in Inverness and Dingwall. This included representatives from the the Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland, Samaritans, Age Scotland, NHS Highland, Scottish Health Council Highland, HUG (Highland User Group - Action for Mental Health), Highland Learning Disabilities Relationship Group, Rape and Abuse Line (Dingwall), Waverley Care Highland, CAB, Highland Carers Advocacy, UNISON Highland, Inverness Women's Aid, Women@Work, Brook Highland, LGBT Moray, Birchwood Highland and CourageSCOTLAND.
When Pride was over, the committee decided to stay together to take forward all the more serious issues facing us as a community such as geographical and social isolation, lack of access to information and lack of positive images. We submitted a report on these and other matters to the Scottish Parliament as part of their consultation entitled 'Taking Stock (Sexual Orientation Issues)'.
Over the next few years we made connections with the Equality Network, Stonewall Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland, Reach Out Highland and THT.
We have held two Pride Balls in Inverness and we organise a variety of social events for LGBT people and friends.
The Highland LGBT Forum has been instrumental in getting various local venues to provide regular LGBT-friendly events impacting positively on the emotional, physical and social wellbeing of members of the LGBT communities.
In 2010 we attended 3 freshers' fairs in Inverness & Skye, and we also ran our health and wellbeing stall at Inverness Highland Games.