Friday, January 13, 2023

Council launches consultation on Belfast-based LGBTQ centre

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A public consultation was launched this week by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councilor Christina Black to consider the need for a dedicated hub provided by the Council.

The consultation findings will help inform a feasibility study commissioned by Belfast City Council to assess the benefits of a dedicated building for organizations representing the LGBTQIA+ community and the likely demand for facilities and services in such a building detect.

The council says the study “aims to provide the evidence base needed for funding applications and potential future business cases for a dedicated LGBTQIA+ hub”.

Citizens can find out more and express their views by completing a questionnaire on the Belfast City Council consultation page by 26 January 2023 at: https://yoursay.belfastcity.gov.uk/lgbtqia-hub

Christina Black, Lord Mayor of Belfast, said: “With many LGBTQIA+ organizations receiving little or no basic funding, it can be extremely difficult to cover rent and other overheads. In response, Cara-Friend, HEReNI and The Rainbow Project are currently renting all of the space in a building known as an LGBT center.

“But with demand for services increasing significantly in recent years and many other LGBTQIA+ organizations renting separate premises, there appears to be a strong business case for establishing a dedicated LGBTQIA+ hub. The study will examine this in detail to determine if this is the case.”

She continued, “The consultation will also provide valuable insights into specific facilities and services that users would expect to be available in a dedicated hub, likely to be sought after by users and people’s views on possible locations.”

Karen McShane of The Rainbow Project said: “The successful development of the LGBTQ+ hub will help promote Belfast as an inclusive, prosperous and vibrant city for all. The community welcomes the City Council’s study to assess the long-term needs of Northern Ireland’s LGBTQ+ sector and the feasibility of a future center to meet their needs.

“The expert lifesaving services provided by Cara-Friend, HERe NI, Transgender NI and The Rainbow Project are hampered by the lack of a permanent home, and LGBTQ+ organizations have rented buildings for many years that are rapidly becoming obsolete due to continued growth asked for services.”

She continued: “The development of a dedicated facility in Belfast will create appropriate facilities to support the LGBTQ+ community in their journey and allow them to be their true selves, whether in work or family life. This ensures they have more energy, perform better, and have stronger relationships with their peers. With appropriate facilities, it will save lives.

“The study will demonstrate a future viability for the operations of the support center and put in place an appropriate governance model to ensure its future needs. We look forward to the successful outcome of the study and a positive recommendation for further action.”

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