London Friend is 45!
This Pride we’re celebrating our 45th birthday! Just like the event in London which saw the first Pride Rally in 1972, we also began providing services that year.
Like Pride, we’ve come a long way, reflecting the changing support needs of our LGBT communities. In our early days, as an offshoot of the political Campaign For Homosexual Equality, we provided social groups and other emotional support for people newly out, in the years following the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. We offered a space for LGBT people to come together and provide support to their peers.
Today, London Friend still provides those groups as well as an LGBT counselling service. We support people coming out as LGB, and have added groups for trans people, older LGBT people, and those wanting a meeting space away from the commercial bar and club scene. Volunteers are still key to how we deliver our services, with a team of over 100 LGBT volunteers who collectively won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2016.
Our services have expanded to work with some of the most pressing health needs in our communities today. In 2011 we took over running Antidote, the LGBT drug and alcohol service, and have been a leader in responding to chemsex.; in 2016 we joined the London LGBT Domestic Abuse Partnership to run a specialist counselling service; and in 2017 we joined the SASH sexual health partnership, ensuring continuity of work with LGBT sex workers, previously provided by the Swish project, as well as adding work with LGBT asylum seekers and refugees.
Some of our partner services have made the journey from the 70s with us, such as Switchboard, but other much-needed services like Pace and Broken Rainbow have sadly recently closed their doors. As we celebrate our first 45 years, we’re proud to work in partnership with so many fellow LGBT services in London and nationwide*, and our hope going forward is to be part of a thriving, vibrant LGBT voluntary sector.
YOU can help us achieve this by giving your time or money. Find out more about becoming a volunteer here; make a regular of one-off donation here; or find out ore about fundraising for us here.
You can also donate via text: send FRND45 £10 to 70070 to donate £10.
(You can change the value of your donation by changing the amount in the text).
Thank you to all our past and present service users, volunteers, staff and partners for helping us reach this milestone. We’ll see you all at Pride in London this Saturday!
* London Friend works in partnership with: Galop; GMFA; cliniQ; NAZ; METRO; Stonewall Housing; Switchboard; ELOP; AfterParty London; LGBT Foundation; Birmingham LGBT; Yorkshire MESMAC; Terrence Higgins Trust; Wandsworth Oasis; GIRES; BiUK; LGBT Consortium; Club Soda; Queers Without Beers; Families Together London; Beaumont Society; Opening Doors London; Say It Loud Club; Kenric; CHE; Turning Point; Race Equality Foundation; Club Drug Clinic; 56 Dean Street; Burrell Street; Jefferiss Wing; Department of Health; NHS England; Public Health England; United4PrEP.