Each month, we highlight a charity that is helping to make our communities better. With Pride in London earlier this month and the 50th anniversary of the UK’s decriminalisation of homosexuality yesterday (27th July), this time we talk to Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre. Their work supports young LGBT+ people across the city, with activities such as mentoring, a youth network and school workshops that tackle homophobia. We asked them about their work with London’s LGBT teens.
Tell us about your organisation.
In a nutshell, Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre is a London-based charity that is specifically designed for young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) persons, as well as those who are questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity, aged 13 to 19. We have three central aims: to support, educate, and inspire our young person.
What services do you provide?
Our Youth Network occurs once a week and is an opportunity to meet other LGBT peers, make friends and learn all about LGBT identities, community and its history, heritage and anything and everything that relates to being LGB or T through fun and interactive workshops. This space is exclusive to 13- to 19-year-olds (25 if SEN) who identify as non-heterosexual, trans or unsure of their sexuality and/or gender.
We also provide mentoring, an opportunity to talk things over one-to-one with one of our mentors. It is a non-judgemental, friendly conversation that can help a young person better understand their issues, whatever they may be. We have supported people going through bullying, coming out, family conflict, relationship issues and much more.
Mosaic’s Inclusion and Outreach team delivers school workshops challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. We train teachers and professionals, but also work with students in schools and colleges. We encourage everyone concerned about homophobia or who wants to raise awareness of LGBT identities to speak with us about booking a workshop by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our LGBT Reading Room offers hundreds of books and DVDs for young people and professionals to access. Whether preparing a thesis or looking for tips on managing diversity in the classroom, we are happy to make a recommendation and loan a book.
We also run a weeklong LGBT Youth Summer Camp as well as a weekend Winter Retreat, a programme for LGBT+ young persons to get away from heteronormativity and reconnect with themselves. It offers great activities in tranquil surroundings, great food and amazing company.
Culture Club is a monthly cultural outing provision where LGBT young persons can access heavily discounted or free theatre, arts, exhibitions, talks and screenings that widen their understanding of the LGBT community’s history, heritage and arts. It fulfils our mission to educate and inspire a younger generation of LGBT persons.
What obstacles does your organisation face?
Funding cuts are our biggest challenge as they impact our ability to provide regular, high-quality services to young LGBT people. In the short term, we require £15K to pay for fundraising costs, cover rent, bills and volunteer reimbursements for 12 months. In the long term, we aim to secure more sustainable funding through a variety of sources. Fully committed and dedicated staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to make sure that Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre not only remains open, but widens its offering and accommodates the diverse needs of LGBT young persons.
What are your funding sources?
We are very lucky to have secured some funding from the Global Fund for Children, John Lyon’s Charity and Jack Petchey Foundation, alongside some contracted work with the Government Equalities Office and Young Lambeth Foundation that we are very excited about. Our brand and ethos are well known and sometimes funders approach us offering to fund the work we do as we aspire to deliver the best possible services to our members.
Do you hold any events?
We respond to the needs of our members and three years ago they told us that they were not feeling welcomed at their school proms for fear of ridicule and abuse based on their gender identity or their sexual orientation. We were asked to organise an LGBT prom that would be a safe place for them to celebrate their identities in a non-judgmental space. This is how Pride Prom was born—a ball for under 18s that is safe, alcohol free and filled with great performances such as this year’s with Bratavio, Michael Twaits and Seann Miley Moore. We even accommodated new artists on the rise like Thomas Chok, an electric violinist, as well as singing duo Distinction, who this year also performed on Pride in London stages!
We are now planning our annual Homoween—a Halloween ball that, much like Pride Prom, is a safe, inspirational space that is fun and engaging for young LGBT persons.
How can people get involved?
We are always looking for good-hearted, committed individuals to volunteer their time to support, educate and inspire LGBT young persons to create a proud, strong and cohesive LGBT+ community that is safe from prejudice, healthy and makes a positive contribution to society.
If you’re interested in volunteering, contact us by email with your CV at email@example.com.
For more about Mosaic, visit their website, or check them out on Facebook @mosaic.centre, Twitter @mosaicyouth or Instagram @mosaiclgbtcentre.