Support for young people who are LGBT+

LGBT+ includes people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender fluid and/or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. Young people who identify as LGBT+ can be offered support by youth workers in Surrey to give them a safe space to talk about what matters to them and to be introduced to other young people who are LGBT+.

LGBT+ youth groups

Twister

Youth Workers from Surrey County Council run Twister, which is a safe space where young people can meet to get support, make friends, and take part in fun, creative and awareness raising activities. It is for young people age 11 to 19 and up to 25 if the young adult has special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Twister is just like any other youth group. The young people choose how they spend their time there, with the main activities including art, crafts, music and cooking. At the start of the session some young people may choose to change into clothes that reflect their gender identity. The friendly feel of the group allows discussions to open up about issues they might be experiencing or worried about, such as bullying, coming out, relationships, civil rights, equality and being a gay and/or transgender person in public.

Joining Twister for the first time

Feeling safe and respected at Twister is important. For this reason, the venues where the groups take place are kept confidential. Before joining Twister, a youth worker will need to meet a young person to make sure the group is right for them. This first meeting can take place in a public place such as a coffee shop, library, youth centre, school or college.

Is parental consent needed to join Twister?

Attending Twister is confidential. The young person doesn't need to tell their parents or friends why they attend the group. Some young people may prefer to travel to a Twister group outside of their local area, if they have not told friends and family about their sexual orientation or gender identity. Any concerns about privacy can be discussed with the youth worker at Twister.

Finding a local Twister group

There are 4 Twister groups in Surrey, one in each quadrant of the county.

To find out more about Twister please contact the relevant person from the list below:

AreaContact person(s)Contact details
GuildfordRhiannon Jenningsrhiannon.jennings1@surreycc.gov.uk / 07890 427611
EpsomJamielee Bowmanjamielee.bowman@surreycc.gov.uk
RedhillLuke D'Isabellaluke.disabella@surreycc.gov.uk
WokingMolly Klemova-White or Sandie Bolgermolly.white@surreycc.gov.uk / 07854 511336

For more general enquiries please contact Molly. White@surreycc.gov.uk


Eikon

Eikon's LGBTQ+ Youth Groups are safe spaces for questions, support, discussions, activities, and making new friends. The groups are completely free and open to all young people aged 11-18 (or up to 24 for young people with SEND) across Surrey who identify as LGBTQ+ or are questioning.

The groups currently meet in West Byfleet and Guildford every Wednesday evening from 6-8 PM. The sessions alternate between the 11-14 age group at West Byfleet and the 15-17 age group at Guildford. Additionally, Eikon are in the process of developing an online group for individuals aged 18-24 with SEND.

If you are interested in joining the youth groups, please register your interest or email EikonLGBT@Eikon.org.uk for more details. Due to the confidential nature of the groups, the LGBTQ+ Youth Worker will need to first meet a young person who is interested in joining a youth group.


Emotional support for LGBT+ young people

  • Counselling for young people is available through Mindworks Surrey, private therapists and charities across Surrey. It can be helpful for young people to talk to someone outside of their family about things they are struggling with. If you need help finding local support, please use the FIS directory or contact us.
  • CYP Havens are in Guildford, Epsom, Staines and Redhill. CYP Haven is for young people aged 10-18 where they can talk about worries and mental health in a confidential, friendly and supportive environment.
  • Kooth is a website offering free and confidential online counselling for young people.
  • Switchboard is an LGBT+ Helpline, where all the volunteers who answer the calls are also LGBT+. Callers can discuss any concerns they have, including coming out and relationships.
  • Eikon offer 8-10 LGBTQ+ focused emotional wellbeing sessions with one of their LGBTQ+ Practitioners. These 1:1 support sessions provide a confidential and supportive environment for young people to discuss emotions and experiences related to being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Topics include coming out, understanding and exploring identity, addressing gender dysphoria. These sessions aim to offer personalised support, guidance, and resources to help young people navigate these aspects of their lives. Sessions can be conducted online or in person at the Eikon therapy rooms in West Byfleet. They are available for young people aged 13-17, or 18-25 with SEND. Referrals can be made by the young person (if aged 13+), a parent or carer, or a professional such as a teacher.

Information for LGBT+ young people

Young people may want to read about the things that affect them online. Information about coming out, meeting other people who are LGBT+ and having healthy relationships can be found on the websites below:

  • The Mix gives essential information and advice to people under 25 years old, on topics ranging from mental health to homelessness.
  • Stonewall aims to change attitudes across the UK to improve the lives of LGBT+ people.
  • The Albert Kennedy Trust supports young LGBT+ people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They also support young people living at home when their family haven't accepted that they are LGBT+.

Support for parents of children who are LGBT+

Advice and support is available for parents of children and young people who are LGBT+. The services below provide information on a range of LGBT+ issues that you might find useful:

  • Surrey children's charity Eikon run monthly peer support groups in the borough of Surrey Heath for parents of children who are LGBT+.
  • FFLAG stands for Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Supportive guides are available on how to support your child, of any age, before and after they have come out.
  • Family Lives have information about how to support your child if they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
  • Woking Twister host a fortnightly group on a Thursday for anyone with caring responsibility for an LGBT young person. For further information please contact molly.white@surreycc.gov.uk

Supporting LGBT+ children in school

Resources for schools to support LGBT+ pupils and raise awareness of LGBT+ issues:

  • Healthy Schools Surrey provides advice and resources for teaching young people about sex and relationships in PSHE lessons.
  • Gires is the Gender Identity Research & Education Society who have produced an e-learning module for Surrey schools called Caring for gender nonconforming young people.
  • Stonewall run courses to help schools to become more inclusive and to support transgender children.

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