Accessibility Matters

The Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Safety Forums (B&H LGBT CSF) initiative Accessibility Matters, celebrates its second anniversary providing Access to LGBT people in Brighton and Hove this July.

Accessibility Matters is the only dedicated LGBT project that delivers effective front line services to the Disabled LGBT Communities in Brighton & Hove.

Accessibility Matters was created by the B&H LGBT CSF to address the needs of older disabled, and deaf members of the LGBT Communities in the city, to encourage and empower them to take part in community and social life on a par with their non-disabled peers.

Accessibility Matters was created following complaints in 2013 that the needs of LGBT people in the city, were not being served by either statutory or voluntary agencies.

Both the B&H LGBT CSF and Accessibility Matters are led and run entirely by volunteers. Volunteer hours donated to the project in 2016 amounted to £48,000.

During the last twelve months, Accessibility Matters has delivered self-awareness and self-defence workshops to empower individuals to feel safer and protect themselves. These workshops were also delivered at the Forums' B. Right. On. Festival which celebrates LGBT History Month in February.

Accessibility Matters was instrumental in enabling older, disabled and deaf people to take part in Pride 2014, 2015 and 2016 both in the Parade, where they were accommodated at the front of the parade, and at the main event on Preston park where Accessibility Matters provided a safe space for disabled people and their carers. For many disabled people, it was the first Pride at which they felt supported and welcomed as equals.

Robert from Hove, said: “I would just like to say a big thank you for helping me get to pride. Having major health issues I was not going to go due to problems getting into the park and the need to access a toilet urgently. You sorted both problems out, I got into the park through the disabled entry and you gave me access to the disabled toilets and cleaning area. I had a great day with no problems at all as I could plan ahead making sure I was near the access tent and facilities on a regular basis. Your efforts made a massive difference to disabled people who otherwise would be excluded from the event. It’s what pride should be about including everyone.”

This year the Access space on Preston Park has been extended to provide a safe and welcoming space for families and members of the trans community.

With only a few months to go to Pride 2017, many people have already applied for help from Accessibility Matters.

Billie Lewis, Chair of the B&H LGBT CSF, said: “We are not a talking shop we deliver practical front line services for older people, deaf people and people with disabilities. If you need help and your voice is not being heard please do telephone: 01273 855620 and select option 3.

You can also email us on access@lgbt-help.com

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