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Perth in line for dedicated LGBT+ hub

Sir Ian McKellen at Perthshire Pride 2019.
Sir Ian McKellen at Perthshire Pride 2019.

Perth could be set to get its own dedicated LGBT+ hub.

Charity Pink Saltire has been looking into the viability of creating a hub in Perthshire dedicated to supporting the region’s LGBT+ community.

Those behind the plan say a hub would offer a safe space for those who identify as LGBT+ where they are not at risk of judgement, and a dedicated space would better meet the needs of the community.

Pink Saltire study looks at what community wants in Perth

For the past few months LGBT+ representation charity Pink Saltire has been working with a number of Perthshire groups to find out what they want out of a hub, including Perthshire Pride, Perth Parrots Floorball Club, Transgender Perth, and LGBT Youth Scotland’s local GLOW group.

Their study found 79% of people felt there was no LGBT+ community in the area, with a third saying they felt unsafe in Perth.

A further 17% of LGBT+ said they had been the victim of a hate crime in the city, despite only 7% actually reporting it.

Perthshire Pride 2019

It also highlighted which issues were important for the LGBT+ community and what they would like to see addressed if a central hub was created.

This includes access to health services, reducing hate crimes, providing more opportunities for young people, removing the need to travel out of Perthshire for support, and to create a sense of community.

What could the hub look like?

Currently Pink Saltire is looking at what a potential hub could look like if one was set up in Perth.

One of the options includes creating a physical space in the city centre with a café, social space, a function space and various meeting rooms.

Other options being considered is having pop-up bases across the region, having a themed venue like a café, or sharing a space with an existing organisation.

David McPhee, equalities team leader at Perth and Kinross Council, said: [We] are pleased to see the progress made for this much needed research undertaken during very difficult times.

“We will continue to work closely with Pink Saltire and members of the local LGBT+ community as the work continues to seek a satisfactory outcome which meets local needs into the future.”

The study was carried out by Matt Wester, community support worker at Pink Saltire, who said: “The support of Perth and Kinross Council, plus all the groups, organisations and individuals that have helped make the conversation happen, has been incredible.

“Through their responsive partnership approach from the beginning, stakeholders have really brought together the ideas and vision for what we hope will one day become a reality for those living in the region.

“It’s now important to keep these discussions going, continuing to build links with others and really see how we progress from this initial scoping study.

“As we move ever closer to the opening of The Hive LGBT Centre in Fife, and with more and more examples of successful community hub models around the UK, I hope Perth and Kinross will be one of the next places to benefit from investment in such a community facility and safe space.”

Pink Saltire says it will continue these conversations once the coronavirus restrictions are eased.

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