UPDATED 2nd April 2020
Due to the Government’s advice on Covid-19 (corona virus) London Friend is suspending all our face to face services until further notice.
We are sorry to have to take this step, but the safety of our services users, volunteers and staff is of paramount importance. You can find the latest NHS information about the corona virus here.
Adapting to social distancing is a big challenge for a service that works in the way we do. Almost all of London Friend’s services involve face to face and close contact with others. Our services bring LGBT people together and provide opportunities to meet others and socialise together. Around 700 people a year come to one of our support or social groups. We also see up to 100 people each week for one to one counselling or drug and alcohol support.
You can read a message from our CEO Monty Moncrieff MBE here.
Support and social groups
Our support and social groups are suspended until further notice due to measures to implement social distancing. We're exploring how we can provide support using online platforms, so please check back for any updates. The groups and meetings run by other LGBT organisations which we host at London Friend are also suspended - please contact your group's organiser for any updates from them.
Our face to face counselling is suspended. We are working to provide counselling via video or telephone where it is practical for our counsellors and safe for our clients to do so. If you are currently receiving counselling from us please do not come to the building; your counsellor will be in touch soon to discuss arrangements.
Our general counselling service waiting list is currently closed and we are unable to accept any new referrals. Like many counselling services this is already very long, and with the additional disruptions related to the Corona Virus we would not be able to see you for several months. If you are currently on the waiting list you will keep your place, but we apologise for any further delay to receiving support.
Our specialist domestic abuse counselling service remains open for referrals (though is also operating a waiting list). You can self-refer via the London LGBT Domestic Abuse Partnership here.
Antidote drug and alcohol service
Our Antidote walk-in services on Monday and Thursday are suspended. Our weekly clinic at Axis is suspended.
If you are currently receiving one to one keywork please do not come to the building; a member of the Antidote team will be in touch to discuss arrangements.
To support yourself at home, we have created an Antidote Home Care page with some resources to help you make changes from home, support yourself at difficult times, and links to our drug & alcohol harm reduction information.
We have also published advice on chemsex and hook-ups during lockdown.
You can still refer yourself for support as a new client; please email Antidote as below.
Contacting the service
Staff are working remotely. Please bear with us whilst we implement these arrangements over the coming days. During this time we are not able to respond to phone calls. If you have an urgent enquiry please email us as follows:
- For general enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org
- For the counselling service – email@example.com
- For our drug and alcohol service – firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.
Your own wellbeing
It is important we look after ourselves and each other during this difficult time. You may find this information from Mind, the national mental health charity, and this from the Mental Health Foundation helpful.
Our partners Outlife have put together this information about supporting other LGBTQ people during the corona virus crisis.
House of Pride has produced this LGBT+ Guide to Self-Isolation.
Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline, has produced this Emotional Wellbeing Support Pack.
Terrence Higgins Trust has published this information about sex and Covid-19 - in short, don't hook up - DIY!
Other support services