Sunderland recognised for equality and action for LGBT groups

Sunderland's Education Equality is improving.
Sunderland's Education Equality is improving.
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Sunderland has moved up the national chart for Education Equality run by LGBT charity Stonewall.

The city was a new entrant in the award in 2016 but the latest report shows its scores have increased, moving Sunderland up to 17th place in the national rankings.

The charity says the improved score reflects efforts by the city’s young people, working with Together for Children – the company set up to run children’s services in the city – and Sunderland City Council.

Together for Children hosts a fortnightly LGBT Forum for young people, which the charity says ‘offers a safe space for the young people to be themselves without fear of judgement’.

Coun Louise Farthing, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “I was delighted to see Sunderland move up the rankings in the Education Equality Index.

“What makes this work so special is the fact it’s being led by young people themselves, with many different groups represented on the LGBT Forum.“

Together For Children’s anti-bullying team has been working with schools around Sunderland, providing help and support with bullying both in school and online.

Earlier this year it met with director of education Simon Marshall to discuss how to improve national school support networks.

“What is great about the work in Sunderland is that young people are at the forefront,” said Mr Marshall.

“They shape what we do and in turn shape our city’s culture.”

City council chiefs hope the latest news will be recognised in Sunderland’s bid to be named City of Culture 2021.