The project ‘Well Women’ aims to improve the health and wellbeing of lesbian and bisexual women and empower them to better engage and participate in their communities. It’s believed to be the first ever funded national project engaging with LB women.
There is an expanding evidence base which indicates that the inequalities LB women can experience as a result of homophobia and lifestyle factors are a barrier to accessing mainstream support. A recent survey found that over 95% of LB women had experienced an emotional wellbeing issue such as depression or suicide (LGF Community IExist Survey) and half of LB women have had negative experiences with healthcare professionals (Stonewall, 2008).
Annie Emery, Head of Services at The LGF explains “These experiences of discrimination and prejudice often result in a lack of confidence in statutory services, leading to reduced visibility and influence within them. A lack of engagement in public life means lesbian and bisexual women are consistently isolated and can feel invisible. This can lead to LB women feeling disempowered and ignored by mainstream society. This programme of work aims to address inequalities, and to equip and empower LB women to have a voice and play an active role in society.
The £299k funding over four years will build on the LGF’s existing services for women in the North West, along with establishing a national network of organisations who support LB women in order to facilitate the sharing of best practice and learning.
Annie Emery comments; “This funding enables the LGF to encourage access to our existing support opportunities such as our counselling service and support groups, whilst developing a range of further activities supporting LB women such as targeted health campaigns, monthly skills and confidence building sessions, regular public participation workshops, and an online support forum.”
She goes onto say; “Lesbian and bisexual women’s needs are often overlooked within mainstream services, so this project will also focus on improving the capacity of other external organisations to better meet the needs of this often marginalised community. We are very excited that thanks to The Big Lottery Reaching Communities Programme we are able to drive this vital work forward”
Jackie Daniel, Vice Chair of the LGF’s Board of Trustees, comments “News of this funding is a fantastic result for LGF and means we can further engage with the lesbian and bisexual women’s community, enriching the work we are already doing, and ensuring LB women are encouraged to be visible and empowered. Creating networks and developing partnerships with mainstream organisations around this agenda gives us the opportunity to be real agents for change, thereby improving the lives of LB women nationally”