Three Leicestershire organisations have pledged support to the Leicester LGBT centre.
The Leicester Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Centre is looking to find 12 organisations in the city who would each pay £10,000 in return for education, advice and training for staff.
The centre which has been operating in Leicester since 1976, had to came up with a new way to secure its future and raise much-needed funds.
Its 12 Partners Programme has now been joined by De Montfort University (DMU), Leicestershire Police and Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The organisations are the first of a dozen that the LGBT Centre hopes will sign up to the programme.
Interim chief executive Paul Fitzgerald said: “We are extremely grateful to the city council for stepping in when it did, and are absolutely delighted that DMU, Leicestershire Police and Leicester City CCG have now agreed to join our 12 Partners Programme too.
“We’re seeing ever-increasing demand for our services across the city and county but we can’t continue to help people without funding.
“I hope that we’ll be able to persuade eight more partner organisations to sign up to our scheme and help the centre get back onto a more secure financial footing.”
Deputy City Mayor Cllr Rory Palmer said: “The Leicester LGBT Centre plays a very important role in the city so it was clear that the city council should step in to support it in the short term, while it seeks to secure its long-term future.
“We’re pleased to be part of the 12 Partners Programme and hope the initiative will help secure the funding the centre needs to continue to advocate for Leicester’s LGBT communities for many years to come.”
Vice-Chancellor of DMU, Professor Dominic Shellard – who is the new honorary president of the Leicester LGBT Centre – said: “I am extraordinarily fortunate to be the Vice-Chancellor of one of the most diverse universities in the country.
“DMU prides itself on being a university which believes in, and promotes, equality and works for the public good.
“The work of the LGBT Centre is absolutely vital for many people who to come to an inspiring place like this to find the support they need.”
Simon Cole QPM, Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, said: “We are pleased to support this programme which will enable us to strengthen our links with the LGBT centre. In return, police officers will benefit from expert training and advice and it will help us to improve our consultation and engagement with members of the LGBT community and we hope that will give people the confidence to report any hate crimes and help us to investigate and detect them.”
Sue Lock, managing director of the Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We place high value on the contribution that the LGBT Centre makes to our local community. With this training and support from the 12 Partners Programme we will have the best possible understanding of the LGBT communities, which will be reflected in the health services that we plan and manage.”
The Leicester LGBT Centre has been restructured in recent months, with the appointment of a new board of directors and a new honorary president.
It’s one of a handful of dedicated LGBT centres around the country and, in the past 12 months, more than 10,000 people have contacted its staff for help.
For more information on the LGBT centre and contact Paul Fitzgerald on 0116 254 7412 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.