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.
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.