The Foundation recently welcomed pupils from its partner schools to Old Trafford to participate in a selection of educational activities to learn about the history of LGBTQ+ and understand more about the community.
The participants, who were all members or allies of the LGBTQ+ community, discussed their experiences and socialised with other pupils in an event to mark and celebrate Pride month.
Also present at the event were representatives from charity The Proud Trust, who assisted with running the workshops. They spoke to participants about mental wellbeing, encouraging them to share their thoughts and feelings on issues surrounding LGBTQ+, also passing on advice and coping mechanisms that can be used to manage certain situations.
Alex Wilson, inclusion manager for Manchester United Foundation, said: “For us it’s all about inclusivity, which is a main focus for the Foundation. A big part of why we’re doing this event is based on the results from the Bee Well survey, which highlighted that you are more likely to struggle with your mental wellbeing if you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, so it was our opportunity to show our support.”
Alex added: “We’re also delighted to be joined here today by The Proud Trust. They are a great organisation who support LGBTQ+ young people through youth groups and peer support. Having started really small, they are now expanding across Manchester and it’s great to have their support and to give our young people the chance to hear from them.”
After taking part in the workshops, the participants finished the day with a presentation from a panel of special guests, including Jess Eastoe from Greater Sport – whose role is to make sure no one is disengaged from sport – and Susie Cuthill, deputy chief executive of The Proud Trust. The panellists hosted an open discussion where they both shared their experiences of life as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
During the panel’s discussion, they provided key tips on how to educate people about the LGBTQ+ community, as well as offering advice on how to navigate life as a member, such as ‘finding your tribe’ and the importance of identifying a trusted adult to confide in when needed. The key messages that the panel passed on to the young people were to ‘value the uniqueness of everyone’ and ‘be yourself’.
These words clearly resonated with Cat, a pupil from Middleton Technology School:
“I feel like I’ve really benefitted from attending and the talks about mental health and wellbeing helped me to realise that I’m not the only one, and that there are a lot of people who are struggling – it does help to bond and learn,” Cat said.
“It’s great to see the Foundation hosting events like this as it’s a positive way for the LGBTQ+ community to further integrate into the public and also allows us to bring in more allies and give people more knowledge. Education is so important and I really hope we see more events like this in the future.”
This piece was written by Patrick Kelly, Foundation participant, member of the Powerchair team and aspiring journalist.