The National Lottery Community Fund supports Just Like Us to empower LGBT+ young people and allies in England and Wales
Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, will receive more than £400,000 over three years from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest community funder in the UK, to transform its Pride Groups programme.
Just Like Us’ Pride Groups programme is a national network of lunchtime or after school clubs in secondary schools that provide safe places for LGBT+ and ally young people to meet, learn and get support.
Pride Groups receive tailored support and ready-to-go resources from Just Like Us, and both school staff and student leaders benefit from expert training.
The £435,250 grant over three years from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players to good causes, will enable Just Like Us to transform the Pride Groups programme into an initiative supporting approximately 16,000 LGBT+ young people and allies across 1,600 secondary schools in England and Wales.
Phil East, an English teacher at Park Hall Academy in the West Midlands, said: “Running Pride Groups at Park Hall last year alongside other staff, with the help of the brilliant resources from Just Like Us, was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding aspects of my 20-year teaching career.
“It’s so important to provide a safe space for LGBT+ students to socialise, learn about the history of the community and meet other students and allies. We ran a stand in the school reception area during School Diversity Week which was a great success.
“The impact of the programme is difficult to measure but I would certainly say that the school feels like a more inclusive and welcoming place for all students thanks to the existence of the LGBT+ Pride Groups. We will be running the group again this year and look forward to seeing it continue to grow.”
Laura Mackay, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, said: “With the support of The National Lottery Community Fund, Just Like Us will be able transform our Pride Groups programme, helping more pupils than ever before to become better allies, to feel connected to the LGBT+ community and to make positive changes in their schools and local communities.
“All young people deserve to feel that school is a safe place where they are supported to be themselves, and I cannot thank National Lottery players enough for helping to make this a reality for LGBT+ pupils across England and Wales.”
Melissa Eaglesfield, Deputy Director of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, and the hard work and dedication of staff and volunteers at Just Like Us, this funding will make a great difference to the wellbeing of young LGBT+ people across England and Wales.
“Our ambition is to invest most in places, people and communities experiencing poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. I’m delighted that our funding is being used to create safe environments where communities can come together and be themselves.”
The National Lottery Community Fund recently launched its new strategy, ‘It starts with community’, which will underpin its efforts to distribute at least £4 billion of National Lottery funding by 2030.
As part of this, the funder has four key missions, which are to support communities to come together, be environmentally sustainable, help children and young people thrive and enable people to live healthier lives.
National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. Thanks to them, last year The National Lottery Community Fund was able to distribute over half a billion pounds (£615.4 million) of life-changing funding to communities. To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk