ACTION for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale

Annual Report

August 2000

BACKGROUND

Towards the end of 1997 a worker from Calderdale Health Promotion Centre approached Lesbian Information Service and MSM (Men who have sex with Men, HIV/AIDS prevention project) to discuss the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual (lgb) young people in Calderdale. It was agreed that this group had specific needs which were not being met. A second meeting was planned to which two young lesbians were invited. At this meeting ACTION for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale was set up.

Lesbian Information Service successfully applied for funding, on behalf of ACTION, to Calderdale Community Foundation, Rural Development Commission, Calderdale & Kirklees Health Authority. A research project was set up to find out the needs and experiences of lgb young people in Calderdale and to assess the level of provision for this group.

Fifteen young people, eight young men, seven young women, took part in in-depth interviews and over 40 agencies were surveyed. The findings suggested that there was no specific provision targetted at young lgb people, the limited support that was available was dependent on a few individuals within agencies. At the same time, young lgb people had specific needs, highlighted by the following findings:

* 100% of the participants believed they were born lesbian/gay;

* 86% were aware of their sexual orientation whilst at school;

* 67% experienced verbal abuse at school because of their sexual orientation;

* 60% had experienced harassment due to their sexual orientation, three experiencing physical violence;

* 87% had experienced long periods of depression;

* 80% had had suicidal thoughts;

* 67% had experienced periods of anxiety

* 13% had attempted suicide;

* school-days were the most oppressive, most isolating and most lonely with no information available at a time when the majority of the participants felt suicidal;

* 33% felt they drank too much;

* 33% had used drugs;

* 27% had had an eating disorder;

* 33% had experienced violence within same-sex relationships;

* 60% had experienced opposite-sex relations;

* 33% had experienced promiscuous sexual behaviour;

* 13% had exchanged sex for money;

* 73% said they practised safer sex but only 40% said they practised it all of the time;

* 13% had had sexually transmitted infections but no known cases of HIV;

* all but one had experienced same-sex sexual relations;

* all but one had had relationships with members of the same-sex;

* the majority had experienced problems within their same-sex relationships but with no-one to turn to for support;

* most, especially the young lesbians, had experienced great difficulties in meeting other young people of the same gender and sexual orientation for friendships or relationships;

* 27% had experienced homelessness;

* 53% were out to their GPs;

* 93% were out to their parents, 13% were forced to leave home;

* 27% had experienced physical violence whilst growing up;

* 20% had experienced sexual abuse whilst growing up;

* 27% had been raped;

* all felt it was difficult being young and lesbian or gay;

* all had problems accepting their sexual orientation;

* most felt particularly isolated living in an area like Calderdale where there is virtually no support and few social outlets;

* apart from those who had received support from the Lesbian Youth Support Information Service, few had experienced positive support for their sexual orientation from agencies and those who did came across it outside of Calderdale;

* some had experienced wrong and dangerous advice from professionals.

It is possible that young lgb people in rural areas, as compared with urban areas where there is some support, are more likely to:

* experience greater isolation;

* experience worse alcohol problems;

* identify as different earlier;

* experience relationships with same-sex partners of wider age gaps;

* experience more violence within their relationships;

* have more eating disorders;

* be more likely to have contemplated suicide;

* experience less pressure to use drugs and to be sexually active, because of poor access to the gay scene.

It is also possible that young lesbians have different experiences to young gay men. For example,

* young lesbians are far more isolated;

* have fewer same-sex, same sexual orientation friends;

* are more likely to identify as bisexual before coming out as lesbian (none of the young gay men identified as bisexual);

* experience greater pressure to conform to heterosexuality from parents;

* are more likely to have relationships with heterosexual/bisexual women (none of the young gay men appeared to have relationships with men who identified as heterosexual and only one had had a relationship with a man who identified as bisexual);

* are more likely to have opposite-sex sexual relations;

* are more likely to have alcohol problems and eating disorders;

* are more likely to smoke.

Young gay men, on the other hand, are:

* more vulnerable to HIV;

* more likely to get an extreme response from parents;

* likely to have more same-sex sexual relations;

* more likely to experience violence within same-sex relationships;

* more likely to attempt suicide;

* more likely to experience homophobic violence;

* more likely to have more support available in connection with HIV/AIDS prevention.

Clearly, the above findings are important when considering recommendations and the kind of support that is needed.

The findings were disseminated at a one-day seminar held in March 1999 in Halifax which was attended by workers from different agencies and young people. Afternoon workshops came out with a list of ways forward. These, together with the findings and comments made by young people during the research were collated and recommendations were published in June 1999 in the 140-page ACTION Research Report. Two hundred copies of the Report were distributed to agencies, local and national politicians. Copies are available in all of the libraries in Calderdale. The recommendations included:

Research
To conduct further research in the following areas:

* to conduct a review of the education service, in particular schools, with regard to provision for LGB young people;

* to identify - if possible - the number of LGB young people who are hidden within those young people who are presenting with depression, attempted suicide, alcohol/drug problems;

* to identify - if possible - the number of LGB young people who are hidden within those young people who are homeless;

* to ascertain the attitudes and knowledge of front-line providers, especially in relation to mental health, school, alcohol/drugs and sexual health and to include levels of religiosity and relationship to homophobia;

* to utilise questionnaire to assess the needs of other LGB young people in Calderdale and for use in funding applications.

Provision
Inter-Agency Group
Taking on board that LGB young people have multiple needs, in an area like Calderdale it would be difficult to set up a series of support groups specifically aimed at LGB young people (e.g. in relation to the different issues raised). It, therefore, makes sense to set up one LGB Youth Support Group (taking on board needs of different genders and with outreach to minority groups) which would link into other forms of provision. Close working relationships with other agencies would be crucial. It would be essential to set up an Inter-Agency Group to include schools, mental health services, alcohol & drugs workers, voluntary organisations (MIND, Relate, MSM, Samaritans), social services, the police, housing, colleges/universities, GPs. Once established, such a Group could refer young people to the Youth Support Group and work together to, for example, develop support and information for families of LGB young people; to ensure the Recommendations from the Report are initiated; to liaise with other services i.e. leisure services to examine the possibility of specific sessions for LGBs, e.g. swimming, training, football, etc.

Accessible Services
1. Develop a booklet aimed at all front-line staff who work with young people to highlight the needs of LGB young people; circulate booklet to all front-line workers, prioritising workers in the mental health and alcohol fields as well as schools.

2. It seems likely that there is a link between fundamentalist religious views (Christian, Muslim, other) on homosexuality and the service LGB people receive. Service employers are responsible to ensure their services are equally accessible to everyone, including LGB people.

3. Calderdale Community Education (Youth Service) are already utilising a model produced by Lesbian Information Service aimed at making agencies accessible to lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Briefly this consists of:

- Setting up a group of supportive workers to introduce model.

- Conducting a survey of staff to ascertain knowledge, attitudes, training needs.

- Developing appropriate policies and procedures.

- Providing training for all staff to reach a level of awareness.

- Developing a generic approach for all staff (and providing training).

- Developing resources to support work including information for users.

- Developing specific provision - either through a group or identified member of staff.

- More in-depth training for specialist workers.

- Publicising support to LGB people.

- Funding for a worker to facilitate the above to happen.

It is recommended that all other agencies utilise this model and adapt it where appropriate. Lesbian Information Service have resource lists on most issues to help agencies develop resources for workers.

Youth Support Group
Given that Community Education are in the process of setting up an LGB youth support group, as already stated, it is recommended that other agencies link into this group.

At the moment there is only funding for two part-time workers (one session each); there will need to be further funding for these workers to be able to respond to the needs of LGB young people outlined in this report and to link in with other agencies. The group would probably need to be based in Halifax but there would also need to be transport provided to enable those young people who live in outer areas to attend. The group would need to meet regularly (at least once a week) with one-to-one work, liaison with parents, other workers, counselling. As well as a drop-in, general social activities, counselling, advocacy, there is also a need to develop courses on specific issues e.g. alcohol and drug misuse, relationship skills, assertiveness, coming out process, developing positive identities, sexual health, etc.

Information
All relevant services to include information aimed at LGB young people. Funding to supply services with appropriate posters and copies of the booklets 'i think i might be a lesbian...now what do i do?' and 'young gay men talking.'

Library Service to develop resources for LGB people with anonymous as well as visible ways of accessing information (e.g. via internet). The Library Service could liaise with LIS to develop an appropriate book list.

Ensure the new One-Stop Shop is accessible to, and appropriate for, young LGBs.

Develop a LGB Helpline in Calderdale.

All above initiatives must publicise services include, or are aimed at, LGB people.

Schools
To introduce Access Model as above but also to employ a member of staff (perhaps the process could begin with a peripatetic worker who visits schools and who links up with named members of staff) who is responsible to develop support for LGB pupils, to introduce anti-homophobia (and other anti-oppressive) courses for all pupils (staff and school governors), to develop curricula to include positive images, to develop libraries to include positive books, to develop resources for other teachers, to support parents. Lesbian Information Service have an extensive library which includes books and papers on these issues as well as U.S. school projects. School bullying policies should include dealing with examples of homophobic bullying and harassment.

As an interim measure, all school nurses to be circulated with copy of article referred to below and attend training.

G.P.s
Ultimately, all G.P.s to undergo training re LGB health issues. In the first instance, however, circulate an appropriate article to all G.P.s and other front-line health care workers. For example, "Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adolescents: Providing Esteem-Enhancing Care to a Battered Population," John A. Nelson, Nurse Practitioner: American Journal of Primary Health Care, February 1997, Vol 22 part 2, p94-109.

Mental Health/Alcohol Services
To introduce Access Model but as an urgent interim measure, to identify an appropriate member of staff to be trained in issues; refer to LGB Youth Support Group; include routine (sensitive) questions on sexual orientation in assessment interviews.

* * *

To discuss what to do next, in July a meeting was organised for some of the lgb participants, followed by one for workers. At the latter meeting it was agreed to set up an Inter-Agency Group and at the former it was agreed to set up a youth support group. The following report discusses what has happened since.

YOUTH SUPPORT GROUP

At the first meeting the group agreed the name, GALYIC (Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale), the aims, objectives and methods:

Aims

1. to provide safe and confidential support for young lesbians, gays and bisexuals;

2. to provide a point of contact in order to eliminate feelings of isolation and develop a sense of community within Calderdale;

3. to raise the profile and awareness of lesbian, gay and bisexual (lgb) issues;

4. to educate both heterosexuals and lgbs on issues which concern lgbs;

5. to develop self-esteem and positive identity amongst lgb young people;

6. to value equal opportunities, recognise and appreciate differences;

7. to enable lgb young people to develop skills and confidence to help them recognise themselves, and to be recognised by the authorities, as full and equal citizens.

Objectives

To achieve the above aims, GALYIC will:

* be peer led;

* provide a range of services

* promote healthy lifestyles

* deliver a programme of activities (including social education), information and resources

* hold discussions with and provide training for other relevant organisations (schools, youth groups).

Methods

The following methods are suggested means of achieving the aims and objectives:

* Support group meetings

* Telephone helpline

* Outreach work with other lgb agencies (visits)

* Information and resources

* One-to-one support

* Pen-pal scheme

* Befriending

* Newsletter

* Advertising/publicity

* Advocacy

* Counselling

* Social events

* Drop-in

* Courses

* Transport

* Networks

* Support for work (from, e.g. other agencies, politicians, etc).

It was agreed that members would respect the confidentiality of others in the group.

Possible sources of funding identified included: Halifax PLC, Comic Relief, Millennium, Mind, Calderdale Community Foundation, Calderdale Council, Princes Trust.

Funding was needed for: telephone, answering machine and quarterly rental of phone line; publicity; P.O. Box; fuel/transport; day-to-day running costs e.g. tea, coffee, photocopying, postage, stationery; rent for premises; residentials; activities; special projects (e.g. video); workers; resources.

Outlets for publicity included: gay media; yellow pages and telephone directories; libraries; doctor's surgeries; CABs; Samaritans and other similar organisations; YMCA and other youth centres; NCH and other youth organisations; social services; schools/colleges; other lesbian and gay groups e.g. Bradford, Kirklees; word of mouth.

Potential activities included: outdoor activities; residentials; courses; workshops (self-esteem, relationship skills, confidence building, self-defence); lgb events (Pink Picnic, Hyde Out, Mardi Gras, possible similar event in Shibden Park); videos, cinema, books; demonstrations; arts, music, sculpture (Hardcastle Craggs); activities with other lgb groups.

Youth Worker

Community Education provided one part-time youth work session per week. The position was advertised in the local media but only one person applied for the post, Jan Bridget, who had been involved in the research and setting the group up, Jan was duly employed.

Constitution

A constitution, which incorporates the above aims, objectives and methods, was agreed by GALYIC members.

Management Committee

The Management Committee is made up of GALYIC members with workers from relevant agencies being co-opted on for their skills and support. Co-optees do not have any voting rights. It is envisaged that GALYIC members will be supported in their roles by co-opted workers.

Committee Officers/Training

Training on Committtee Roles/Management Committees was pursued. Damien volunteered to be the treasurer, Lola/Louise joint-chairpersons, Jayne secretary. After Lola resigned, Jason took over as joint-chairperson.

Bank Account

A bank account in the name of GALYIC was set up with Lloyds/TSB in Halifax. The annual accounts can be found in Appendix A.

Systems

Several systems have been agreed and set up, for example, books for: resources, loans, subscriptions, finances, membership, minutes.

Monitoring and Evaluation

As well as the local authority membership forms and sessional recordings, members are asked to complete an 'attitudes' and 'self-esteem' questionnaire. Members are also invited to take part in the on-going research and so far five further interviews have taken place. This enables both an evaluation of the work of GALYIC to take place but it also identifies the specific needs of individual members as well as giving them the opportunity of what American counsellors call 'dumping' i.e. talking about their experiences as lesbian, gay or bisexual young people, many for the first time ever, in an interview which is very wide-ranging.

Policies

Members have agreed a befriending policy and an Equal Opportunities Policy which includes a contract which all new members read, sign and retain a copy. The policy also outlines the steps to be taken should anyone break the agreement.

Publicity

Funding (six hundred and fifty pounds) was acquired from Calderdale Community Foundation to help towards publicity and equipment. A member designed letter-headed note paper and complementary slips as well as an A4 Poster. This was printed and laminated. Little plastic pockets were stuck to the poster. The Health Education Authority produce flyers about coming out and developing a positive identity. We acquired permission to put the GALYIC stamp on these flyers and bought some; these have been placed in the pocket of the poster as well as being distributed on their own.

The worker's previous experience suggested that posters like these are often defaced, torn down or simply not displayed. In order to try and avoid some of these issues we decided it would be best if they were distributed by Calderdale MBC via their central 'package' system. They agreed to do this. The posters were ready in February and delivered to most of the relevant voluntary organisations and later to the Health Care Trust. However, we had to keep chasing up Calderdale MBC until eventually we were told that as it was nearly local election time, could we wait until after? We are still waiting - some six months later.

A press release was sent out to local media and the national gay media. After many weeks a piece appeared in the Hebden Bridge Times and Evening Courier. Details about GALYIC are published in Shout, Diva and the Pink Paper. Information has also been circulated to young people in Calderdale on a Health Promotion 'Contact' card as well as the Youth Fax, which have been given to all school leavers. Details have also appeared in the Calderdale MBC Education Bulletin and have been circulated to all youth centres.

Resources

We now have several books and videos which members can borrow. We have also a stock of the booklets 'Young Gay Men Talking' and 'i think i might be a lesbian ... now what do i do?' Both include the GALYIC stamp. Some of these booklets have been distributed to other agencies e.g. Sexual Health Centre, youth centres.

Premises

Since August 1999 the group has met weekly in premises in Halifax provided by Community Education. However, the lease for these premises runs out at the end of August 2000. We would like to thank Community Education for their support in providing premises.

It was felt important that the venue remain in Halifax as the group services the whole of Calderdale and it would be unfair to expect members to come into Halifax and then catch another bus out. Several agencies based in Halifax were approached and it was hoped that the group could meet at Calderale & Kirklees HIV/AIDS Link. Although CKHAL said they were supportive of the work, there was a problem about access (key-holders and security) which meant that we could not use their premises. A similar problem was met when we approached the Information Shop. Whilst we could have used the YMCA, members felt this was inappropriate because it would not be anonymous. Forrest Cottage was on offer as a fall back position but this is not in central Halifax. Eventually successful discussions were held with another voluntary youth organisation in central Halifax who agreed GALYIC could meet at their premises from September onwards. We will have to pay a rent of ten pounds per session which means the group will either have to obtain further funding for this and/or raise money.

Telephone Helpline

The helpline has been available since January 2000 although few calls have been received, due to the lack of publicity. It is worth noting that some calls have been from people of different ages and from different parts of the country.

Membership

The worker has had contact with, and given support to, 17 young lgb people over the last year: 7 male, 10 female. All white. About half of these young people come from poor, working class backgrounds whilst the others come from better off, middle class homes. Several have mental health problems (3). The majority are aged 21 and over with six being aged 20 and below; the youngest is aged 16 years. Of these, seven regularly attend the group meetings. Two others used to attend regularly but have since moved on; the worker is still in touch with them and regularly rings round those who do not attend the meetings to see how they are.

Activities

Most of the activities have centered around setting the group up, applying for funding, agreeing policies, etc. However, the group have also been on a number of trips including: last year's Pink Picnic in Huddersfield; this year's Hyde Out in Leeds; two members attended a lesbian, gay and bisexual youth conference in Cheshire; a group went to the launch of an lgb video in Leeds; some members attended the section 28 vigils in Halifax and Todmorden; all of the group attended one of the Calderdale Youth Forum meetings and a member spoke at the event; a member attended the West Yorkshire LGBT Policing Initiative; the same member attended a local meeting (at CKHAL) with Calderdale Community Safety Partnership; several members have attended the Todmorden lesbian disco as well as the First Sunday 'open-mic' session at Nelson's Wine Bar. Some of the members socialise with members of HAGG (Halifax Area Gay Group) at a local bar on Wednesday evenings after GALYIC finishes. Group members have discussed (and some read and commented on) the booklet Lesbian Information Service are producing which is aimed at people in Calderdale who work with young people to raise their awareness on issues facing lgb young people and how to support them. Members have also completed several questionnaires for research projects from different organisations. Most recently members have been interviewed for a youth programme on local radio.

Much of the work of GALYIC has centred around discussions. Each session begins with a share of how people are feeling and what has been happening to them since we last met. Some of the issues covered have included: coming out; alcohol misuse; relationships; safer-sex; death/bereavement; depression/mental health problems; homelessness; parents; isolation; infatuation. The group has been visited by Alcohol/Drugs workers, Sexual Health Counsellor, M-Power Assessor, Youth Clubs UK Worker, Phoenix FM (Radio) presenter.

One-to-One Support

If members do not turn up to meetings the worker keeps in contact by telephoning them. She has met with some members outside of group hours and visited one member in hospital. Several of the participants have needed extra support around mental health, housing and legal problems.

Volunteers

There are two volunteers, one of whom has turned up to most of the group meetings. There is usually a caring and supportive atmosphere within the group and often members will contact other members to check that they are okay.

Funding

Funding was acquired from Community Education and Calderdale Community Foundation for setting up costs and publicity; a donation was also received from Halifax Area Gay Group and a member of GALYIC. Community Education provided a small grant to acquire resources (books, booklets, videos).

M-Power

A lot of hard work was put into submitting a bid to M-Power to fund a video project. However, by the time funding had been agreed, the group was too small to pursue it so we did not go ahead with the project.

Comic Relief

A bid was put in to develop the work of ACTION and pursue the recommendations in the ACTION report. Whilst there was an agreement that we met the criteria it was felt that the group was not membership-led enough.

Interim Funding

An application was submitted to Calderdale & Kirklees Health Authority for interim funding to continue the work until substantial funding can be acquired. Whilst supportive of the work, the department of the Health Authority we applied to said they had no funds left for this year but wrote to the Primary Care Group and another department supporting our application. To date, however, nothing has been received.

A bid for funding to pay a half-time worker for one year to consult with the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities in Calderdale regarding homophobic hate crime has been submitted to Calderdale Community Safety Partnership (Appendix B)

A bid to develop the work of GALYIC and to pursue the other recommendations in the ACTION Report has been submitted to Comic Relief and Diana Princess of Wales Trust; it is hoped to also submit one to the National Lottery Charities Board.

Problems

As the above shows, much has been achieved by the hard work of members, volunteers and a lot of voluntary work from the worker. Some major problems have significantly affected the project:

* Lack of a second worker. This has meant that the worker has had to staff the helpline whilst the group have been meeting and has been unable to pursue other activities. It has also placed extreme demands on the one worker. It has meant that the group have not been able to attend (with the worker) other activities e.g. consultation processes.

* Lack of activities/programme due to insufficient staff.

* Lack of part-time sessions. This meant the group had to drop down to meeting once a week, and even then only 40 sessions per year are available.

Whilst a second worker will alleviate some of these problems, they, too, will only have 40 sessions a year which means that there will be insufficient time to provide the one-to-one work that needs to be carried out outside of the group meeting. Another 40 sessions (ie. three part-time sessions) are urgently needed if appropriate levels of support are to be maintained.

* Venue: trying to find an alternative venue has been a major problem. It seems unreasonable that some voluntary organisations have excellent premises which are under-used, especially in the evenings, but because of issues around key-holding/security are not available.

* Transport: Most youth groups are based in the areas where the young people live. GALYIC is different in that it is providing a service for lgb young people throughout Calderdale. Many of the young people cannot afford to travel into Halifax to attend group meetings. Members have come from: Todmorden (given lifts by worker), Sowerby Bridge and areas of Halifax. There are many other areas of Calderdale where there must be lgb young people but they are not using GALYIC either because they do not know of its existence or because they cannot get to it (for whatever reason, usually financial). There have been several attempts to link up with other lgb youth groups in Yorkshire but these have failed due primarily to lack of transport.

* Lack of creche/baby-sitting facilities has been a problem for one member of the group who has a daughter.

* Lack of publicity: refusal of Calderdale to distribute the poster has been a tremendous blow and identifies the amount of work still to be done.

* Low membership: this is probably due to a) lack of publicity, b) lack of any previous work/visibility of lgb issues in Calderdale, c) other reasons i.e. lack of confidence to attend, lack of money, transport difficulties, etc.

Some of the main issues which have come up over the year include:

* Lack of money: several are unemployed or on sick, some are students.

* Poor mental health

* Alcohol misuse

* Housing

* Law

* Isolation

* Death/bereavement

* Loneliness

* Homophobic Hate Crimes.

INTER-AGENCY GROUP (IAG)

Purpose

The purpose of the IAG is to

1. encourage agencies (voluntary and statutory) within Calderdale to make appropriate support available to lesbian, gay and bisexual young people;

2. help to implement the local Recommendations within the ACTION Research Report;

3. facilitate networking of agencies/individuals involved in this work;

4. share examples of good practice;

5. ensure that information from the IAG is fed back into the relevant structures/policies.

Membership

It is hoped to eventually have representatives from all of the relevant voluntary and statutory agencies in Calderdale who provide services for young people. The aim is for this person to then feed back information into the structures of their organisations so that all appropriate members of staff (paid and voluntary, management and staff) are informed about the need to work with lesbian, gay and bisexual young people and what is available to support that work, e.g. training, resources, GALYIC, etc.

Meetings

The IAG have met four times since the first meeting in July. Organisations represented have included: West Yorkshire Police, Relate, SmartMove, Community Education, Sexual Health Services, MSM, Lesbian Information Service, Mental Health Services, Personnel Department, Family Planning, Dashline, Careers Service Partnership, Calderdale Housing Department, Calderdale Youth in Partnership, Library Service, Jigsaw.

At the first meeting the information booklet (see below) was discussed and participants identified areas the booklet should cover as well as style, format. It was suggested that funding be acquired to provide training to accompany distribution of the booklet.

Other meetings have discussed publicity for GALYIC, training, strategies to develop recommendations, membership of IAG.

Officers

Patrick Ambrose (Community Education) is the chair; Angela Hodgson's secretary (Sexual Health Services) will service the IAG when she takes up post, i.e. take minutes, distribute.

At the last meeting in May it was agreed that information about the IAG be sent, along with the purpose, to other appropriate agencies to encourage membership. It was also suggested that the IAG network should include wider circulation of minutes to agencies/individuals who may not attend meetings, e.g. Alice Mahon, MP.

The IAG meets quarterly, meetings are arranged for Tuesday mornings, 10-12 noon at Horton House, Horton Street, Halifax, on September 5th; December 5th; March 6th; June 5th 2001.

RESEARCH

Young People

This is the only recommendation regarding research which has been actioned. Five new members of GALYIC have been interviewed. See Appendix C for up-dated statistics.

Mental Health

Several meetings have been held with a representative of the Mental Health Services. Children and Adolescent Mental Health Stratgic Implementation Group (SIG) commissioned an audit of the needs of this group by national Young Minds. The draft report did not include lesbian, gay or bisexual young people, the SIG were informed about this. A local audit was conducted by Andy Clark which did include lgb young people. A copy of the new strategy plan was sent to the GALYIC youth worker; again it omitted lgb young people. The worker commented on the omission which resulted in a member of the SIG visiting her to discuss the issue. The worker recommended that in future all assessments of adolescents with mental health problems should include a sensitive question on sexual orientation and that a mental health worker be designated specifically to work with lgb young people throughout Calderdale.

Alcohol

Discussions have been held with Dashline regarding the inclusion of sexual orientation within assessments. Despite information being sent to Dashline and the GALYIC worker arranging for a Lesbian Alcohol Worker in London, with years of experience in this issue, to contact them, there has not been any feedback.

Homelessness, Attitudes, School Provision

Further funding is needed before progress on these areas can be achieved.

ACCESSIBLE SERVICES

Booklet

Lesbian Information Service successfully applied for five thousand pounds from Joint Funding Small Grants (Calderdale MBC Social Services and Calderdale and Kirklees Health Authority) to produce information for workers. The aim of the project was to provide information for people who work with young people about the specific issues facing LGB young people in order that they may be better able to provide appropriate support.

The objectives were to:

produce an accessible, attractive, short and readable booklet

include the main issues facing LGB young people

cover the main issues identified by a selection of workers

incude a list of relevant resources e.g. books, organisations

provide a checklist for providing support

distribute the booklet to all relevant workers in Calderdale who work with young people, e.g. youth workers, teachers, school nurses, doctors, social workers, housing workers, voluntary agency staff, etc.

make booklet available nationally through LIS publications list.

After having identified the contents from workers at the IAG meeting, the LIS worker wrote a draft version of the booklet which was circulated to fifteen people, including members of GALYIC for comments. Amendments were made and the booklet is currently being type-set. It will be circulated in September.

Access Model

Lesbian Information Service have developed an Access Model for agencies to utilise to make their services relevant to lgb people. This model has been used very successfully with Calderdale Community Education (Youth Service). A questionnaire was circulated to full-time youth workers and the results presented at a team meeting. This was followed by a one-day training event which was received extremely well. Prior to this, anti-oppressive training, including homophobia awareness, was included in the part-time youth worker basic training course. Anti-oppressive training, utilising the Access Model, is about to be provided to all of the part-time youth workers in Calderdale in a programme of three sessions which will span three terms and include tasks for teams to complete between sessions. If successful, this could help to make Calderdale Youth Service one of the most progressive in the country with regard to anti-oppressive youth work.

Schools, G.P.s, Mental Health, Alcohol Services

For this kind of model to be pursued with other agencies, in particular schools, G.P.s, Mental Health Services and Alcohol Services, further funding is needed. However, this would need to be preceded by the research outlined in Research section. Similarly, before funding can be sought to employ a 'homophobia awareness peripatetic worker' for schools, the survey of provision available in schools must be carried out.

Information

More funding would be needed to acquire enough copies of the booklets 'young gay men talking' and 'i think i might be a lesbian...now what do i do?' to circulate to workers in Calderdale. However, GALYIC have acquired fifty copies of both booklets and can be contacted for copies.

Calderdale Health Promotion Centre distributed copies of the article "Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Adolescents: Providing Esteem-Enhancing Care to a Battered Population" John A. Nelson, Nurse Practitioner: American Journal of Primary Health CAre, February 1997, Vol 22, part 2, p94-109 to all GPs and school nurses.

The GALYIC Poster and information is available at the Information Shop. Calderdale Library Services now have a website which gives Calderdale citizens an opportunity to find out what books are available, including lgb books.

TRAINING

Two modules were run from Horton House, Halifax, one during Autumn term and the other during Winter term. Nine people completed the first course, five completed the second course;these came from: North Halifax Mental Health Team (2); Dashline; MSM; Community Education(2); Family Planning; Jigsaw; West Yorkshire Police(3); Calderdale Youth in Partnership Scheme; Calderdale MBC Personnel Department(1); Calderale College(1).

Objectives for the module were that participants would:

1. be better able to support Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual young people

2. have a better understanding of multi-oppression

3. have a better understanding of the causes and effects of homophobia, especially on LGB young people in relation to sexual health, alcohol/drugs, mental well-being

4. know how to access further information

5. have access to a model to help them develop their own agencies to become more accessible to, and appropriate for, LGB young people.

A Report was produced which included an evaluation. Feedback from particpants was excellent: all said the course met their needs either completely, very well or well. Comments included:

"I have a better understanding of internalised homophobia and I feel I now have more resources available. I have more confidence and a better understanding regarding approaching clients with regard to their sexuality."

"It screams out that it needs repeating; through the course itself and peoples' responses to it. It needs to be stressed that by getting people on the course, the effect is completely disproportionate to the numbers on the course, i.e. it is not just affecting one person, it is affecting the culture of their organisation."

Further funding is needed before training can be resumed and when it is it needs to be aimed at management level initially (a series of one-day courses).

OTHER, RELEVANT AREAS

Calderdale Partnership Project (Users and Carers, Voluntary Organisations)

Lesbian Information Service put pressure on the Partnership Project to include consultation with lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Calderdale with regard to services. As a result of this the Health Authority are going to include lesbians and gays with their Health Improvement Plan.

EVALUATION

An awful lot has been achieved with very limited funding, due to the commitment and voluntary work of the author.

As a result of the work over the last year (and previous years) there is more support for working with lgb young people from individual workers and agencies. However, the 'keep section 28' campaign in the local media has been successful in that it has generated fear on the part of the local authority; this will not have been helped by the local council going Tory, or by the retention of section 28 of the Local Government Act. Lack of funding and reduced publicity has hampered the work significantly.

Working with other agencies is important if we are to move everyone forward. Utilising the Access Model is crucial. This has been an excellent way of working with the local Youth Service (Community Education).

Whilst there have been inroads with many agencies some have been noticeably absent, including social services and schools. It is crucial to get these services on board: social services because they will be dealing with vulnerable young people, many of whom will be lgb young people; schools because, as the research shows, it is whilst young lgb people are at school that the majority become aware of their sexual orientation and, without information and support, feel depressed and suicidal; furthermore, many experience bullying and harassment, issues which many schools are ignoring.

A proper evaluation of the work is not possible with such limited resources. However, as noted, feedback from participants on the training module was excellent and a separate report is available. Certainly, many of the recommendations have had a good start but funding is desperately needed if they are to be completed.

Whilst a system of evaluating the success of the work with individual young lgb people has been set up, these have not yet been evaluated, due to insufficient time.

FUTURE

Funding is needed to continue to develop the work:

Research:

* review provision of support for lgb young people in schools

* identify number of lgb young people presenting with mental health, alcohol/drug problems and homelessness

* ascertain attitudes and knowledge of front-line workers, especially in relation to mental health, schools, alcohol/drugs, sexual health workers

* continue utilising questionnaire to assess needs of lgb young people in Calderdale.

Accessible Services:

* continue to develop the Inter-Agency Group

* develop training utilising Access Model with relevant agencies, especially information shop, schools, mental health service, alcohol/drugs agency, homelessness agencies, G.P.s

* continue to develop information for workers and young people

Youth Support Group

* ensure safe venue

* ensure enough staff to pursue methods

* develop programme of activities to include incorporation within mainstream events

* develop one-year training programme to meet needs identified in research and on-going support.

Long term goals are to make every agency that works with young people in Calderdale accessible and appropriate to young lgb people.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to:

Liz North
Calderdale Community Education, in particular: Pauline Nash, Patrick Ambrose, Graham Griffiths
Members of GALYIC and IAG
Halifax Area Gay Group
Ro Knapper
Lyn Ridley
Alice Mahon, MP
Calderdale Community Foundation
Calderdale MBC
Calderdale & Kirklees Health Authority

Jan Bridget, August 2000

APPENDIX A

GAY AND LESBIAN YOUTH IN CALDERDALE

INCOMING AND OUTGOING ACCOUNT

YEAR ENDING JULY 2000


INCOMING

Grants & donations:

Community Education     365.00
Halifax Area Gay Group   50.00
Calderdale Community Foundation         650.00

TOTAL         1065.00

OUTGOINGS

Telephone           167.27
P.O. Box           26.00
Leaflets             61.00
Publicity             409.14
Affiliations           22.00
Stationery           110.76
Conference expenses         30.00
Petty Cash (postage & travel expenses)     27.69

TOTAL EXPENDITURE         853.86

RESERVES               211.14


APPENDIX B

TITLE OF PROJECT: LESBIAN, GAY AND BISEXUAL COMMUNITY SAFETY WORKER - CALDERDALE

NEEDS

There has been substantial research in different parts of Britain which persistently come up with statistics suggesting that homophobic crime is rife in Britain; the Soho bombings last year bear witness to the horrendous results of this type of crime. There is no reason to believe that Calderdale is immune. Indeed, the results of the ACTION for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale research substantiates this, as do the personal testimonies of several older lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens of Calderdale. (See attached data).

The Home Office (Home Office Guidance on Statutory Crime and Disorder Partnerships: Crime and Disorder Act 1998) clearly recommends that local authorities and police areas pay particular attention to hard-to-reach social groups, including the gay and lesbian community:

"It is absolutely central to the success of the partnerships that they should be seen as credible and inclusive by all sections of the community. It is likely that the Home Secretary will use ... [the] powers [in the] Crime and Disorder Act to require the police and local authorities to invite the full participation of gay and lesbian groups in the work of the new partnerships. This should do much to ensure that issues of concern to these groups are not overlooked when the audit is conducted and the strategy developed. Seeking the involvement of the gay and lesbian community must be an active process not a passive one. This community is not always visible, and may for historical reasons not find it easy to engage in a dialogue with some of the groups involved in the partnerships; it will not be enough just to write to the local pressure group inviting it to send a representative to a meeting and then thinking that your obligation to this sector of the community is discharged. You must develop creative and flexible ways to break down any barriers which may exist locally, and to encourage full and active engagement in the work by local gay and lesbian people."

AIM

The aim of the project is to help towards the development of a Crime & Disorder Reduction Strategy with regard to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual communities in Calderdale.

This aim will be achieved by the appointment of a half-time worker for one year. The worker will be expected to meet the following objectives.

OBJECTIVES

To work with lesbian, gay and bisexual (lgb) groups and individuals in Calderdale to

        1. identify the issues of importance to them regarding community safety

        2. identify possible positive developments/solutions to problems

        3. communicate these effectively to appropriate bodies and lgb communities

        4. enable them to choose how to become involved (if they wish to do so) with other agencies such as Calderdale Community Safety Partnership, Victim Support, the police.

To work with other organisations to further community safety within the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities in Calderdale.

To assist in the development of appropriate support services (e.g. Victim Support) to make them accessible and appropriate to lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

METHODS

1. Acquisition of funding for above post.

2. Establishment of line-manager (Community Education?)

3. Establishment of Steering Group to be made up of lgb people and representatives of appropriate agencies.

4. Collect data regarding homophobic hate crime and intervention strategies (UK and abroad) and provide a review.

5. Network with appropriate organisations, e.g. West Yorkshire Police, Victim Support, Kirklees Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community Safety Worker, other regional and national agencies, to find out what support is currently available.

6. Develop questionnaire (utilising the one developed by Kirklees), seeking responses from lgb groups and individuals.

7. Conduct survey of lgb people in Calderdale utilising questionnaire - working alongside established groups and conducting outreach where appropriate.

8. Conduct interviews with those lgb individuals who are willing to talk about their experiences.

9. Analyse data.

10. Dissemination of findings via report and seminar

11. Develop an acceptable means of monitoring homophobic hate crime within Calderdale.

12. Assist in development of appropriate services e.g. homophobia awareness training with appropriate agencies e.g. Victim Support, West Yorkshire Police (within Calderdale), etc.

13. Produce a Final Report on the Project with recommendations for the Calderdale Crime & Disorder Reduction Strategy to include evaluation of project.

IMPLEMENTATION

To be implemented as soon as possible so that the work can be conducted alongside similar work being conducted in Kirklees.

It is likely that Community Education would provide management.

It may be that the Inter Agency Group already established to work on issues affecting lesbian, gay and bisexual youth may agree to act as the Steering Group for the project for one year. This consists of representatives from: Community Education, West Yorkshire Police, Sexual Health Services, CYIPS, SmartMove, Family Planning, Calderdale MBC Personnel Department, Calderdale MBC Housing Department, Calderdale and Kirklees Careers Services, Calderdale Mental Health Services, MSM. The next meeting is in September. There would need to be individual representives of the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities invited to join the Steering Group.

It makes sense to utilise the same questionnaire as the one being used in Kirklees - but this would need to be shown to lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Calderdale for their comments.

There is no reason why the post cannot be advertised and the project go ahead as soon as funding is made available. In which case, it should be completed one-year from the time that the person takes up post. Secondment may hasten the process.

EVALUATION

A Final Report will be written by the worker and submitted to the Steering Group and funders. Evaluation will include:

1. Meeting aim and objectives

2. Completion of tasks

3. Performance Indicators i.e.

        - number of lgb people involved in process (steering group, etc)

        - number of lgbs interviewed,

        - number of completed questionnaires,

        - number of organisations networked with

        - number of people trained

4. Production of Final Report.

5. True evaluation will be reflected by the number of lesbian, gay and bisexual people who take part in the project, both with regard to the Steering Group and taking part in the survey, especially in view of the fact that only one person turned up to the original consultation meeting in June 2000.

APPENDIX C

ACTION FINDINGS - UP-DATED, JULY 2000

The following includes data from the original 15 interviews plus the 5 new ones; the old percentages are in brackets.

* 100% white;

* 100% English;

* 55% (46%) female, 45% (53%) male;

* Ages: 1 x 16; 3 x 18; 1 x 19; 2 x 20; 1 x 22; 4 x 23; 2 x 24; 2 x 25; 2 x 27; 1 x 28;

* All either grew up or now live in: Halifax, Todmorden, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Brighouse;

* 35% (27%) are disabled in some way;

* 65% (67%) working class; 35% (27%) middle class;

* 80% (86%) were aware of their sexual orientation whilst at school;

* 65 (67%) experienced verbal abuse at school because of their sexual orientation;

* 55% (60%) had experienced harassment due to their sexual orientation, three experiencing physical violence;

* 85% (87%) had experienced long periods of depression;

* 75% (80%) had had suicidal thoughts;

* 60% (67%) had experienced periods of anxiety

* 25% (13%) had attempted suicide;

* 25% (33%) felt they drank too much;

* 35% (33%) had used drugs;

* 25% (27%) had had an eating disorder;

* 25% (33%) had experienced violence within same-sex relationships;

* 65% (60%) had experienced opposite-sex relations;

* 50% (73%) said they practised safer sex;

* 10% (13%) had had sexually transmitted infections but no known cases of HIV;

* 30% (27%) had experienced homelessness;

* 40% (53%) were out to their GPs;

* 90% (93%) were out to their parents, 13% were forced to leave home;

* 25% (27%) had experienced physical violence whilst growing up;

* 20% (20%) had experienced sexual abuse whilst growing up;

* 20% (27%) had been raped.

Many of the percentages have stayed similar, the few notable changes include:

1. More serious mental health problems.

2. Influence of multi-oppression is significant. For example, all five of the young people with mental health problems are working class as are the five who had attempted suicide; the one person with serious drug problems is working class, as are the majority of the lesbians with alcohol problems.

3. It is more pronounced that lesbians use more alcohol and also that they may use marijuana more than gay men.

4. Rate of suicide attempts have gone up to what is usual for lesbian, gay and bisexual young people (but one would expect them to be higher in isolated areas).

5. Still noticeable that lesbians are more likely to have sex - usually several times - with the opposite sex.

6. Of the five young people who have had an eating disorder, four are female.