Calderdale’s only gay and lesbian youth charity will be forced to close at the end of this month.
Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale (GALYIC) was set up twelve years ago to provide to support, advice and help to homosexual and bisexual young people.
Jan Bridget, who founded GALYIC, said: “It is very sad that we have had to close because the needs of LGBT young people, in some respects, have never been greater with young people coming out at younger ages and the high levels of homophobic bullying in schools.”
The charity, based at Rochdale Road, Todmorden, has been forced to closed due to a lack of funding.
However, Jan believes that she is leaving the LGBT community in a better state than when she founded the GALYIC.
“A lot has happened during this period with homophobic laws being repealed and replaced by anti-discrimination laws,” she said.
“In fact, in many ways, we are in a far better position now legally than we have ever been.”
“We have the Equality Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty which clearly states that all public services should meet the needs of LGBT young people.
“There are also government strategies which now identify gay young people as vulnerable and are saying that local authorities need to be providing services that meet their needs.
“For example, the mental health strategy and in particular the new suicide prevention strategy.
“Furthermore, as from January 2012, all schools must take account of the needs of LGBT young people as Ofsted will include questions about this in their inspections.”
From now on Calderdale Young People’s Service will take over the role of supporting LGBT youths in our area.
Councillor Nader Fekri, Mayor of Calderdale, praised the charity.
He said: “I am enormously proud of the fantastic work that GALYIC have done over the past dozen years here in Calderdale.
“They have helped hundreds of youngsters and their families at often difficult times in their lives, challenged ignorance, prejudice, and oppression wherever they’ve encountered it, and by challenging homophobia, helped make our borough a more accepting, caring, and open place to live.”