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Place2Be Scotland passes the LGBTQ+ Charter at Gold level

Place2Be Scotland is incredibly proud to announce that after two years of valuable learning and practise, we successfully passed the LGBTQ+ Charter programme at Gold Level!

children putting their hands on a heart drawn in chalk on a playground

The LGBT Charter is a programme run by LGBT Youth Scotland that helps organisations be LGBTQ+ inclusive for staff, volunteers and service users. Four years ago, we were awarded our Bronze Charter Mark, and so achieving Gold is a big milestone for Place2Be.

Becoming more LGBTQ+ inclusive has been a priority for Place2Be, particularly because we know that LGBTQ+ children and young people experience poor mental health at a disproportionate rate. In April 2021, Just Like Us did a survey of 11 to 18-year-olds. They found that LGBT+ young people are twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety and panic attacks than those who are not LGBT+.

What steps has Place2Be taken to be more inclusive?

We’ve focused on making schools safe spaces where all pupils feel valued and heard. This involves:

  • increasing LGBTQ+ visibility and signposting
  • presentations on LGBTQ+ themes
  • displaying resources and information
  • having a dedicated LGBTQ+ section in the library.

In one of our partner primary schools, one child responded, “Oh look, you have my flag up there!”, while another said child said, “It’s good that this place (Place2Be) is for everyone, I like seeing that message.

Earlier this year, we launched our ‘Come as You Are’ campaign, to coincide with Purple Friday. Our focus celebrated and encouraged schools to create safe spaces for everyone to come as they are, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community.

The only thing that needs to change is that Place2Be don't have the golden charter mark ‘thing.’ They deserve it - ask anybody and they'll agree that Place2Be is really good. If I could I'd make them come up to high school with me as well. A pupil in Scotland who identifies as bisexual

We have listened to children and young people

To find out what we could do to improve our inclusivity, Place2Be Scotland carried out surveys for staff and young people in High Schools.

The main findings from these surveys demonstrated there was a real need for more educational resources, and an increase in visibility – both internally and externally. One of our transgender pupils even told us that “resources especially made for the adults” were needed.

A community-wide approach

Place2Be believes that in order to support the mental health of children and young people, it’s crucial that the adults surrounding them are also supported. That’s why we have focused on creating resources for parents, carers and teachers on supporting LGBTQ+ children and young people, including Parenting Smart resources on:

How has Place2Be championed the LGBTQ+ community internally?

Our Plus+ Group, established in 2021, is a group of colleagues who meet regularly to look at LGBTQ+ related topics for Place2Be. Actions have included holding workshops, placing inclusive posters in our offices, and marking commemorative days.

The Scotland team has held LGBTQ+ awareness trainings for staff working with children and young people. They have also held events for Place2Be's Counsellors on Placement (CoPs) to discuss ‘working with LGBTQ+ children and young people on placement’.

Our induction process includes mandatory training on inclusivity, and we’ve become members of Inclusive Employers, with access to all their training resources and webinars.

We know that passing the LGBTQ+ Charter does not mean we can slow down our efforts to improve LGBTQ+ inclusivity at Place2Be. Creating inclusive spaces requires consistent evaluation and reflection. We will continue to strive to ensure that all children and young people - no matter their sexuality or gender - live healthy, happy and safe lives.

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