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BESS service coordinator talks about loneliness within the community during Pride month and beyond

BESS service has been working to tackle the stigma associated with loneliness and isolation across Blackpool for some time. During Pride month we have been able to reach out to the LGBTQ+ community and open up the discussion around peoples experiences – including loneliness and isolation.

Through listening to peoples stories and sharing them anonymously on our social media platforms we hope to inspire others to feel they too can talk about having feelings of loneliness and isolation, tackling this stigma.

One person we have been working with would like to share part of their story:

“I am isolated 24/7 because of my family disowning me for being LGBT. My friends also do not live near me so its difficult to see them regularly even though they live 20mins away from where I live. I am a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy so getting out is hard and this makes me feel really lonely. My body is getting weaker every day and my condition means I use 5 times the energy to get around and do things I would like to.I have also been homeless for being who I am and while I was homeless I experienced a lot of things and had things happen to me. I can truly say being homeless and LGBT at the same time is the most horrible thing I have happened to me.”

Before lockdown research by The British Red Cross found that one in five people reported feeling often or always lonely. According to new polling 41 per cent of adults across the UK report feeling lonelier since lockdown, with 33 per cent saying they haven’t had a meaningful conversation in the last week.

With this in mind we want to highlight the services available through BESS which includes the BESS BUDDIES befriending service, regular friendship groups meeting virtually and then in the long run at Empowerment Base.

If you would like to share your story with BESS service and keep this conversation going please email linzi.cason@empowermentcharity.org.uk and #talktoBESS

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