Support for Sunderland’s LGBT community with launch of new centre

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Sunderland’s large LGBT community now has a dedicated place to get support, advice and more after the opening of a new centre.

Sunderland Pride Group celebrated the official opening of the hub during an event on Saturday.

The Mayor of Sunderland Coun Alan Emerson officially opens the new Sunderland Pride Centre, with Chris Ramsay and volunteers.

The Mayor of Sunderland Coun Alan Emerson officially opens the new Sunderland Pride Centre, with Chris Ramsay and volunteers.

It brings together a host of services and training opportunities all under one roof for the first time.

Sunderland Mayor Councillor Alan Emerson cut the ribbon during the open event which also featured singers, a buffet and chance to look around the centre at Bridge House, in Bridge Street.

Chris Ramsay from Sunderland Pride said: “There is a massive need for this.

“For the past year and a half there hasn’t been anything like this in Sunderland.

“We have tried to do things in the community but we only had a little office. Now we have got the potential to grow and make it into a LGBT hub for people to come and feel safe.”

The centre, on two storeys, will run training courses and an LGBT drop-in group will be held on Fridays between 1pm and 3pm.

Other services coming soon include HIV testing, a transgender group, HIV support group and more.

Lynne Roxburgh added: “We did a survey and people told us exactly what they wanted.”

There is an estimated 17,000 gay, bi-sexual, lesbian and transgender people in the city.

Body Positive North East is working alongside Sunderland Pride to develop the services, including a social inclusion programme, which aims to reach people who have previously fallen through cracks in the system.

The centre is open Monday to Friday, except Wednesdays, from 10am to 4pm.