LGBT+ History Month – Making a Difference in East London
By Sarah Nelson
The start of February marks the beginning of LGBT+ History Month in the UK. The Foundation celebrates LGBT+ History Month and puts a spotlight on projects we are funding with a LGBTQ+ focus.
Originally started by education charity Schools Out in 2005, the aim was to provide schools with a platform to shine a light on the history of the LGBT+ community and the positive progress made for equality.
The month showcases roles models, promotes an inclusive society and celebrates the positive progress made — beginning with the history of gay rights and related civil movements, through to only last year when the historic moment occurred that saw LGBT+ inclusive relationships and sex education being taught in all schools in England, with Scotland and Wales soon to follow.
And what is more fitting in a time when we all need to show kindness and be aware of the effects of the pandemic on communities is this year’s theme ‘Body, Mind, Spirit’.
Yet despite the positive forward strides, a YouGov poll in both primary and secondary schools indicated that the most predominant type of bullying in schools is faced by LGBT+ pupils.
The pandemic has done nothing to elevate further inequalities with a recent online survey conducted by the LGBT Foundation showing:
- 42% of their members would like to access support for their mental health at this time
- 8% do not feel safe where they are currently staying
- 18% are concerned that this situation is going to lead to substance or alcohol misuse or trigger a relapse.
Here at the Foundation, our focus is to ensure that we are creating inclusion and acceptance and celebrating all cultures and communities through our grant making. With the current situation affecting all of us, we want to promote the message that ‘we will all be ok’ by working together and being kind.
And there are many ways businesses can celebrate LGBT+ History month. For example, taking action to make workplaces a safe space for colleagues and staff, raising awareness and sharing resources to deepen understanding, or just simply promoting the positive messages of the month.
During this month, the Foundation team wanted to take the opportunity to promote the visibility of the LGBT+ community by amplifying some of the amazing projects we have funded with a LGBTQ+ focus:
ENGAGE is a community led and culturally based project run by Rhyan Holder and Curtis Lewis that incorporates the theme of Black Queer visibility and engagement, funded through our Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund. This is done through a series of communal workshops, activities and ultimately a large-scale mural installation created by a collective of artists/creatives from the QTIBPOC (Queer Trans Intersex Black People & People of Colour) community. The mural installation will feature past and current QTIBPOC leaders who have made a positive impact on the community.
Community Impact Filming
This project by Signature Pictures Academy aims to provide access into the film industry for those from underrepresented groups including young people who are BAME, LGBTQI+, and from low socioeconomic and disadvantaged backgrounds, also funded by Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund. It will involve a few days of hands-on experience working alongside professionals and with small local businesses in Waltham Forest and/or Hackney to create promotional video content for social media and marketing. Participants will receive a copy of their video for their portfolio and six months of creative industry employability support in the form of CV advice, work experience on Signature Pictures Academy productions/partner production companies and further training related to the film and media industry.
Fusion Prize winner Play Nice is recruiting its first cohort of Londoners aged 18-25 for The Pattern, a ground-breaking alternatie curriculum in cultural production for future community leaders and curators. Created by Nate Agbetu and Ayo Fagbemi of award-winning London based initiative Play Nice, The Pattern is an incubator scheme and curriculum designed to give future community leaders, cultural producers and aspiring creatives from underrepresented groups including the LGBTQ+ community, the tools and infrastructure they need to develop community projects. Funded by Foundation for Future London, Culture Mile and City of London, part of our Foundations Programme.
Rosetta Arts Cultural Engagement
Four local practitioners have now been chosen to begin Stage One of the Artist Accelerator scheme. The scheme will provide each of the 16 candidates selected over 3 years with a bursary of up to £1800 thanks to funding from Get Living, Foundation for Future London and Rosetta Arts, as well as 12 months’ studio space and 12 hours of mentoring sessions with an experienced professional to help develop their socially engaged practice in the local community. The programme aims to support a wide range of local underrepresented artists from LGBTQ+ and BAME communities develop their practice.
With such great projects taking place it is important to celebrate this month. If you want to get involved there are many other great activities taking place across our four boroughs including:
- Tower Hamlet’s library resource events
- Newham Unlocked’s online celebrations — free events throughout February
- Healthwatch Waltham Forest — series of lunch and learn sessions with the Metropolitan Police and NHS focusing on the theme of Mind, Body and Soul
We continue to hold inclusivity and removal of barriers at the heart of all we do.
If you are part of a community group who is looking for funding to develop or grow a project, then visit our project pages for inspiration and how to apply: https://future.london/projects/