Council raises levels of LGBT support

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By Neil McGrory Local Democracy Reporter

Councillors have backed future community learning and development work supporting young  LGBT people in North Lanarkshire.

And it illustrates that the authority is looking at the issue as never before - and wants to develop further strategies in the future.

The council has specifically been targeting support for these young people since 2017 when the Bellshill LGBT Group was founded.

This was in line with demands from the Bellshill Youth Forum who believed that the council was failing to cater for youngsters who are gay, bisexual or transexual

The UK’s Office of National Statistics says that 4.2 per cent of people aged 16 to 24 fit into the LGBT category.

The purpose of this work is to ensure schools are “safe, accessible and inclusive”, and to “support all children and young people to realise their full potential.”

This targeted youth work is in line with the values of national organisation LGBT Youth Scotland.

Events have taken place across North Lanarkshire since Bellshill LGBT was founded, and similar organisations have been founded in Motherwell, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld, including junior groups for under 16s.

More than 70 schools have also been awarded Rights Respecting Schools status with 17 others working towards this.

Cumbernauld Academy, Brannock High, Bellshill Academy and Clyde Valley High have also achieved the LGBT Scotland Youth Charter Mark, with more expected to follow.

More than 100 young people in North Lanarkshire  are currently engaged in LGBT community-based youth work.

Other future activities include further developing the current groups, more work with schools and supporting the charter mark, funding for various activities and developing a new youth work strategy.