‘Friendly space’ at Pride aims to open up event to older people

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A ‘FRIENDLY space’ will be open to older LGBT people at the Leeds Pride event next month to raise awareness of the loneliness felt by members of the LGBT community in later life.

Time to Shine, the city’s £6m lottery-funded programme to reduce loneliness and social isolation in people over 50, is running the project in conjunction with Leeds charity Sage, its delivery partner for LGBT elders.

It is hoped the quiet area, which will be wheelchair accessible, will open up the event to older LGBT people, and will give the chance to sit, chat and meet new people while enjoying the event with confidence.

The charity will also ask revellers to get Time to Shine temporary tattoos, pose for photos and wear them with pride to show solidarity with older LGBT people.

An information stall to raise awareness and promote the message that “getting older shouldn’t mean getting lonely”.

Learning facilitator for Time to Shine, Hanna Wilcock, said: “LGBT people are much more likely to be socially isolated or lonely in later life.

“Whilst Leeds has a rich network of resources for older people, LGBT people often report anxiety in accessing services due to experiences of discrimination, fear that they’ll be discriminated against or simply not understood.”

Ahead of the event, the project is holding an open session to make posters for people to carry with them at Pride.

People are welcome to drop by the Leeds Older People’s Forum office at Joseph’s Well, Suite C24 Leeds LS3 1AB, on Wednesday July 13 if they want to help.

The ‘friendly space’ will be at Lamberts Yard, Leeds, during Pride, which takes place on August 7.

Time to Shine, which is managed by Leeds Older People’s Forum, is one of 14 projects around the country - including one in Sheffield - funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme. It aims to reach 15,000 older people in the city by 2021.