Braintree Foyer opens its doors for LGBTQ+ Community Group

March 25, 2024

Residents at Braintree Foyer have started a new LGBTQ+ group to provide a safe place for the community.
Jane, a resident at Braintree Foyer, had a mission to create a safe place that would allow other residents and anyone in the wider community to come together to address the challenges they face and offer support to those who need it.

Jane, who has lived experience of feeling alone within Braintree, felt she could help others to not feel this way by offering her story. Jane started her transition at 21 and described it as “starting as an ugly caterpillar and transforming into a butterfly” allowing her to “feel free”. Her end goal is the hope the group will progress over Essex and in five years to have a charity focusing on support for the LGBTQ+ community and friends and family.

Back in December the group started with 12 members and continues to grow to this day, including those who identify as non-binary, pre- and post-op, A-sexual, straight, and gay allowing them to share their thoughts, ask open questions without judgment or just observe.

The group welcomes everyone regardless of whether they are in the LGBTQ+ community or not, those who may have questions, need help to support friends and family or would just like to find out more.

Sammy a support worker at Braintree Foyer tells us she has seen a real positive impact on residents by having more empathy and changing the stigma towards each other.

She said: “After the first meeting we were all in the garden and I witnessed residents have a conversation with someone who they had never spoken to before and also witnessed a resident who is post-op advise someone who is pre-op about what to expect and where is the best place to go, giving them that support in a time which can be uncertain”.

Mark the Braintree Foyer Manager who secured the funding from Braintree Council and Eastlight Community Homes Housing Association for the group for two years has expressed the importance of opening the doors to the wider community to attend to receive the support and use the resources of the Foyer.

Braintree Foyer has signed up to the HouseProud pledge. The HouseProud Pledge, delivered in partnership by HouseProud and Stonewall Housing, is a scheme that requires social housing providers to demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQ+ resident equality and support.

In terms of the future, the group would love to launch Braintree’s first-ever Pride festival with plans taking shape for this June. Braintree Foyer would love to see local businesses get involved either through sponsorship, donation, or volunteers to help create an event to raise awareness for LGBTQ+ and celebrate together as one.
If you would like more details on how to support Braintree’s first ever Pride, please email communications@saha.org.uk.

The group meets bi-weekly at Braintree Foyer if you would like more details contact Braintree Foyer on 01376 343433.

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