BACKGROUND

You may be one of them. Someone who has been asking themselves why there are many cross-sector LGBT+ Networks, but not one in the charity sector?

That’s who we were towards the end of 2018. Five of us through a bit of networking and luck met and started to discuss more seriously about setting-up an Intercharity LGBT+ Network.

We weren’t sure what the demand would be and had heard that people had tried to establish an Intercharity LGBT+ Network before but that it had not worked.

So, we decided that the best way to test the water was to hold a soft launch event to try and gauge interest in building a Network and get some feedback on what people wanted from it.

We were really grateful to Diabetes UK for letting us use their HQ to host the event in central London. The five of us then pooled some of our own money together for nibbles and drinks, and trawled our networks to find some people who would come and speak.

We were really surprised and excited by the level of interest and were upset that there wasn’t enough space for everyone to join who wanted to. However, we can’t wait to see you all at a future event or hear from on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

We held the soft launch event at the Diabetes UK London HQ on Thursday 28 March 2019.

Simon O’Neil, Director of Health Intelligence and Professional Liaison for Diabetes UK, opened the evening, sharing more about what Diabetes UK have been doing in the LGBT+ space.

Our other two speakers were Sally Knocker from Opening Doors London and Tara Stone from Stonewall. Both shared their inspirational stories and about the organisations they work for and both gained a huge round of applause from the audience of around 60 people.

The five organisers of the event then got up for a short Q&A, before turning over the rest of the evening to the audience. We had loads of post-it notes and pens for people to share their ideas on these questions:

  • What would you like to see from the network?
  • Would you like to volunteer to host an event, blog, or volunteer for the Network in some other way?
  • What model should we have with other UK regions?
  • What model should we have with organisations who have in-house networks?
  • What would you like to see change at your organisation?
  • What areas you would like to encourage members and the sector on in terms of diversity and inclusion?
  • How should we keep in touch?

This input has helped us to shape our immediate priorities for the Network and give us loads of ideas of what we can work towards together.

You can read more about our plans and how to get involved in our next blog post, coming soon.

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