One of Ireland’s oldest and largest youth organisations, Foróige is piloting new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender youth clubs to fully meet the needs of young people. The organisation has established three such groups in Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Kilkenny. The clubs are open to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender young people, their friends and young people who may be questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The clubs are a safe place for young LGBT people to be themselves and they are open to all young people who care about LGBT issues,” said Amy Casey, a Foróige Youth Worker who piloted the club in Blanchardstown.
“We set up the groups in response to local needs. The club established in Kilkenny came about, for instance, after one of our youth workers became aware of a young person making a weekly two – hour round trip to attend an LGBT youth group in another county as there were no local supports available to him,” she added.
In order to fully meet the needs of young people, a pilot partnership approach was developed by Foróige with BeLongTo in Kilkenny and Tallaght. Foróige operates the group in Blanchardstown.
“At the moment, we have three LGBT youth clubs in operation, though we offer volunteer training and supports to anyone who wishes to set up an LGBT group in their community,” Ms Casey added.
One former member of the LGBT club in Kilkenny said there can be a sense of isolation for young people questioning their sexual identity, especially in more rural areas.
“It’s really good to have local services because it gave me a sense of community that I didn’t feel was there before. Coming from a small town, I thought at the time that I was the only gay person in the town simply because I didn’t know of anyone else. Once I joined, my confidence grew. In the club, we talked to eachother about our experiences. I think it just helped me feel less alone,” the now 18-year-old said.
Dave Murphy, a Foróige volunteer with the LGBT club in Tallaght, said the group offers a safe space for young people.
“We offer complete confidentially and a space for young people to talk and be open and honest. The group is not exclusively for young LGBT people - young people can bring friends and their parents can come and speak to us if they wish.
“We offer support, though it’s important to recognise that everyone’s journey is different and we are there to listen and to simply be there at what can be a difficult time,” he said.
For further information please contact:
Cathy Gray, Foróige Marketing Communications Officer
Notes to Editors
*Note: Interviews available on request
Established in 1952, Foróige is the leading youth organisation in Ireland. Foróige works with 56,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 600 youth clubs & cafés, 154 targeted projects and national programmes such as Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.