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Partnership Working in Ayrshire and Arran

 

Ayrshire Community Capacity Building 

Working together in Ayrshire and Arran

 

A new partnership is aiming to improve services for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The Ayrshire Equality Partnership (AEP), LGBT Youth Scotland and the Equality Network are working together to provide opportunities for professionals and local people to develop their knowledge and skills and to encourage greater interaction among communities.

 

The Ayrshire Equality Partnership includes representatives from NHS Ayrshire & Arran, East, North and South Ayrshire Councils and Strathclyde Police.  The Ayrshire Equality Partnership commented “We hope that this initiative will improve our understanding of the issues for LGBT communities across Ayrshire and that it will allow us to work together more closely in the future. This is another example of good partnership working across Ayrshire.”

 

The partnership will recognise and work with people who have already delivered and continue to deliver good practice for the LGBT community; and will then help other professionals learn from this expertise.

 

The Equality Act 2010 promotes stronger, more inclusive communities. However, LGBT people are often still overlooked at home, work and in their communities and their needs are not taken into account when services are being designed and delivered.

 

The keys aims of the joint initiative are to:

  • Engage local LGBT people in a shared vision for revitalising their communities
  • Develop a range of community initiatives and projects to achieve long-term positive change
  • Build local skills and knowledge to increase participation in community life and improve delivery of services locally
  • Increase opportunities for positive social interaction within communities
  • Encourage and celebrate social and cultural diversity
  • Improve understanding of the value and use of communities’ assets and strengths

 

We hope to achieve this through initiatives such as involvement of local young people in the LGBT National Youth Council. Young people in each of the local authority areas will be elected to represent their peers at a national level. They will work on issues such as equal marriage, combating hate crime and challenging homophobic bullying in schools. 

 

Another initiative is the SpeakOut leadership programme, which is now in its third year. In Ayrshire, 12 participants have attended a three-day residential course to build skills in setting up and running community groups. The vision is to establish a LGBT community group in each of the local authority areas.

 

A SpeakOut participant said: “I genuinely feel I am leaving the programme with many new skills and contacts. I feel empowered to take this back and make a real difference.”

 

Scott Cuthbertson, Community Development Coordinator for the Equality Network said “We’re excited about the opportunity of continuing to support LGBT people and groups across Ayrshire.  Working together in partnership we can help build an Ayrshire in which no LGBT person feels discriminated against or isolated in their communities.”

 

Hugh Torrance, Director of Development LGBT Youth Scotland, commented: “We are delighted that the NHS, Local Authorities and Police in Ayrshire have come together to demonstrate their joint commitment to LGBT people and communities across Ayrshire.”

Photograph:

Fiona McQueen

Scott Cuthbertson

Councillor Douglas Reid

Councillor Nan McFarlane

Councillor David O’Neill

Hugh Torrance

Fiona Lees

Superintendent Dougie Robertson

 

Notes to editors:  Organisations which make up the Ayrshire Equality Partnership:

  • NHS Ayrshire & Arran
  • East Ayrshire Council
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • South Ayrshire Council
  • Strathclyde Police
  • Strathclyde Fire & Rescue
  • Procurator Fiscal’s Office
  • Ayrshire Joint Valuation Board
  • Ayrshire Minority Ethnic Communities Association 

 

Date of release: Friday 10 February 2012