Who we are | LGBT youth north west

There are lots of people involved in the work of LGBT Youth North West. Many are part of our network and are based all over the region. Some of these have jobs with other organisations and are part of a support network of youth workers. Some our volunteers too. We also have a strong base within Manchester, where many of our staff and volunteers are based. Here is some information about some of these:

Kris – Core Session Volunteer and Mentor

Hi, my names Kris and I started to volunteer with LGYM (lesbian and gay Youth Manchester), last year. I am usually there more Tuesdays and Saturdays, and you will often find me in the kitchen! I do like getting involved with everything at LGYM though, and there is a huge amount to choose from. I have taken part in walks, BBQs, cooking, bike maintenance, games, quizzes, dancing and all sorts of other exciting things! My time at LGYM has been really enjoyable and I love working with friends, staff, volunteers and building relationships with the young members, both old and new. It certainly makes a nice change from my teacher training course and I am definitely looking forward to the year ahead.

Hebe- Adult Volunteer

Hi, I’m Hebe and I’m an adult volunteer for LGBT Youth North West based at lesbian and gay youth Manchester- LGYM. I initially got involved with the project as a young person, but recently I became an official volunteer. I like it because I feel I can make a difference for young people, like how the group made a difference to me. It gives me some important experiences for community arts, which is the type of work I want to do in the future. I enjoy music and arts a lot and incorporate these into the work I do at LGYM.

George- Core Session Volunteer

My name is George and I am at volunteer at LGBT Youth North west for Lesbian and gay youth Manchester. I have been with LGYM since 2010. My main role is to act as a support to the staff during the Saturday sessions, no two of which are ever the same! One session I could be assisting with a triathlon, and the next taking young people to a museum. It is this variety of activities, all of which are underpinned by core youth work values, that make my time at LGYM enjoyable. Seeing the positive affect that the activities have on the lives of LGBT young people is an indescribable feeling, and one that I am in a very privileged position to experience.

Ali- Networking and Funding Monitoring

My name’s Ali and I have been involved with LGBT youth north west since around 2008. My main role is to network to build positive relationships with individuals and organisations across the North West. I also help with the monitoring and reporting to our funders, looking at ‘key performance indicators’…it’s not as boring as it sounds…honestly! I really enjoy being part of such a happy and passionate team of staff and volunteers. Working with LGBT young people is such a pleasure and a privilege, I would recommend getting in touch and getting involved!

Luke- Core Session Volunteer

I’m Luke, and my main role is ensuring that the Tuesday core session runs well at Lesbian and gay Youth Manchester (LGYM). I was once a young person at the LGBT youth group in Bradford, Leeds, and later in Lancaster, before making a step up into volunteering in 2009. I joined the group because of the wide diversity of young people and being able to learn from them. In return, I help deliver a wide range of activities and sessions. I particularly enjoy running activities that empower people to get jobs as they go from adolescents to adulthood, e.g. public speaking activities. I feel I am a friendly and approachable person. Having come out at the age of 12, I am well aware of the issues that face our young people day-to-day in school, college and the working world. My hobbies include cooking, travelling and the railways. I love trains!

Sabrina- Peer Support and Mentoring Project Coordinator.

I started at LGYM (Lesbian and gay Youth Manchester) on placement for my Youth and Community Work Course. I was involved in a number of fantastic opportunities. I went to London for a body image summit and went on a One Million Women Rise March through the streets of London, campaigning against domestic violence. I also designed a mystery visits project which involved training young people to mystery visit organisations in Manchester to see how LGBT friendly they are. After my placement I was offered to role of Peer Mentor Coordinator for Greater Manchester. We train young people to be peer supporters so that other young people who need someone to talk to, can have someone there for them face-to-face, over the phone, by text or by email. This support is fundamental for LGBT young people who need extra support. Things people need help with include coming out, how to reduce stress, family troubles and ways to build confidence. Peer mentors can offers support through listening, as well as practical support like going with a young person to access another organisation (e.g. STI clinic, counselling service etc.). Over all LGBT Youth North West is a brilliant place for both staff, volunteers, young people and everyone who makes it what it is.

Nick – Out and About Tuesday Coordinator

Hello. I got involved in LGBT Youth North West through University. My placement linked in to the organisation through the participation and facilitation charity ICA:UK.  I got involved with the core sessions (mixed group sessions on a Tuesday and Saturday), helping with things related to sports tasters and Pride Games. After my placement ended I have taken up the post of developing the Out and About Project. This is the detached youth work project we run, in the ‘Gay Village’ around Canal St in Manchester and around Urbis. I have enjoyed working in targeted youth work so far. My favourite main activity I have been involved with has been the Young Men’s Residential because we were able to do lots of outdoor activities. The Bikeright mountain biking was amazing fun and was a good way for young people to learn how to ride a bike or improve their biking skills. Work like this that we do sometimes takes young people out of their comfort zones, and helps them grow and develop skills.

Myrtle- Key Skills Tutor and Annual report Editor

I started attending Lesbian and gay Youth Manchester LGYM) as a young person in late 2003, and got involved with the young women’s group (LIK:T) not long after this. After becoming a volunteer with these projects I then got involved with LGBT Youth North West, volunteering to deliver LGBT Awareness Training. In 2008, I became a paid staff member and have worked on different projects within the organisation ever since. I now volunteer and work with LIK:T and LGBT youth North west on an occasional basis, but also have responsibility for editing the annual report each year. I am one of two registered Tutors for our accredited Open Award programme. Having completed my NVQ Level 3, I am now currently undertaking my first year of the Youth and Community Work Degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. I think LGBT Youth North West is a wonderful organisation and has dedicated staff and volunteers. I am proud to be part of it.

Laura- Adult Volunteer

My name is Laura and I have been an adult volunteer with LGBT Youth North West since November 2011, but involved with the organisation as a young person and as a young advocate since November 2007. I am currently secretary of the Young Women’s Group (sometimes known as LIK:T), and do some of the background work and planning with LGBT Youth North West. I have felt like the organisation has provided an entire new family for me and has provided me with a whole new set of skills and opportunities. These have helped me to develop as a youth and community worker.

Sam – Peer Youth Worker

Hello all, I hope you are well? I started at Lesbian and Gay Youth Manchester and that is how I got involved with LGBT Youth North West, back in July 2008. I first got involved with an event volunteering programme, (which was a fancy way of saying ‘young people help set up events and put up loads of marquees!) My work at LGYM progressed and a became a regular participant and then volunteer. For the first few sessions I was really withdrawn and quiet, but as I made friends I slowly became more confident, not only in the group but also just in myself. After a year and a half I applied to become a peer youth worker as part of the staff team. I was successful (obviously, or otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this! During my time as staff so far, I have been involved in many different projects, including LGYM, the Young men’s Project, Pride Summer School, Pride Youth Games and workshops in schools. I have also been given the opportunity to better my skills by doing a Youth Work NVQ which I achieved last year. I am now undertaking a Tutor certification for the Open Awards so that I can train others. I hope to spend my future at LGYM and carry on furthering my knowledge and skills through education  and by meeting new young people who never fail to impress and astound me.

Amelia Lee- Young Women’s Work and Strategic Director

Hi, I am Amelia. I first joined LGBT Youth North West when it began in 2005. I helped set it up with some other youth workers, because we wanted to be able to work better as a sector across the North West, to support each other, and to be able to run regional wide exciting activities for young people. It is great to see how we have grown. We have a strong base in Manchester but happily work through a great network of people across the North West, where there are some excellent examples of LGBT Youth Work – Changing lives and saving lives. I am proud to be part of it.

Student perspectives on joining LGBT Youth North West:-

Paula– Hi, my name is Paula. I am on placement with LGBT youth North West as a student from Durham University. My reasons for choosing this placement was because I want to develop my knowledge of issue based work within an LGBT setting. I have an interest in what youth work calls ‘anti-oppressive practice’. Initially I am working with young people attending the Saturday sessions. So far I have been getting to know people, delivering cooking sessions and looking at some issue-based work e.g. combatting transphobia, Feminist Webs sessions. I will be starting on Tuesday sessions in March. I am looking forward to being involved in detached youth work and undertaking some research that would help LGBT Youth North West to continue to develop in meeting the needs of young people. I am already building positive relationships with staff and young people, and with a sense that I am making a difference to young people’s lives. I feel my association with the organisation has enriched my life.

Cliodhna– I am from Manchester University as a student on placement. I study Applied Community and Youth Work, and am very interested in issue-based work with young people. I am from Northern Ireland and have experience with Community relations work.  I will be working on the Tuesday and Saturday sessions, initially building up relationships with the young people and staff and preparing for facilitate projects and events. I am really looking forward to working on projects around health and emotional literacy, as well as working on a research report. I have been on a staff residential which was really fun, and I can’t wait to get properly involved with the group.

Gary– My name is Gary, and I am 25 years old. I come from Belfast. I am currently in my third year at Manchester Metropolitan University studying for my youth and community work degree.  I have been volunteering in a youth work setting since the age of 16. During this time I have planned and delivered three international exchanges, summer camps and Formal Award Ceremonies. I am here on placement with the organisation to develop my practical experiences in management and supervision, project and policy development, developing reflective skills and exploring how targeted youth work operates. I am looking forward to working with LGYM and helping with the Out and About detached youth work. During my short time with the organisation so far, I already feel very welcomed and part of the team.