Today is Oxford Pride, and Restore is delighted to announce that we have won #WeAreOxford funding from the Oxford City Council to develop a new LGBT+ course at the Oxfordshire Recovery College in collaboration with LGBT+ Oxfordshire.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community experience more mental ill-health than the population at large. People with experience of mental ill-health can feel alienated, and struggle to find people to talk to about it.
We hope that building closer relationships between members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Oxfordshire, Restore, and ORC will facilitate future collaboration, develop their understanding of each other’s perspectives, and increase awareness among members of the LGBTQIA+ community of local mental health services.
Our project looks to build cross-community understanding and friendship between LGBTQIA+ and non-LGBTQIA+ members of the community, in particular those with experience of mental ill-health.
To this end we are developing a free, termly course with the Oxfordshire Recovery College about the mental health issues commonly faced by the LGBTQIA+ community, and by running a talking group alongside the course to help participants develop lasting cross-community friendships.
If you’d like to help us to develop this course please be in touch.
ORC courses draw a broad attendance, including people who have accessed mental health services, carers, mental health professionals, and members of the general public. Each course delivered by ORC is led by an ‘expert by experience’, in this case a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and an ‘expert by training’, who will encourage attendees to share their experiences and opinions in a non-judgmental space, which we know from previous ORC courses forms a powerful bonding experience. Course attendees will gain a powerful insight into the factors exacerbating LGBTQIA+ mental ill-health, hear personal experiences from members of the community, and share their own experiences of mental ill-health in a safe environment.
After each course we intend to run moderated talking groups in our Garden Café to encourage attendees to develop friendships with other participants, and have the opportunity to discuss mental ill-health in more depth if they would like to. This will bridge LGBTQIA+ and non-LGBTQIA+ communities.
Steven Long, Recovery Innovations Coordinator at Restore and the Oxfordshire Recovery College said “We are delighted to be collaborating with LGBT+ Oxford to develop and coproduce this exciting new initiative for all communities involved.”
Ms Mazz Image, Project Manager of LGBT+Oxfordshire, added, “As we are able to move back out into social spaces with friends and family many still carry the lasting effects of time spent in lockdown. This new project with ORC and Restore comes at an opportune time to provide much needed support to the diverse spectrum of people within our community.”
Courses will take place at ORC’s Strawbale site at Manzil Way, Cowley, and the talking groups at Restore’s Garden Café at Manzil Way, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 1YH.
Full details about the courses – including dates and times, will be released later in the year.