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LGBT Switchboard fights for survival with £20000 appeal
Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard is making its final push to raise £20000 by April to keep providing its helpline service and avoid closure.
The Switchboard has grown into a longstanding beacon of support for the city’s sizable gay community since launching in a Brighton café in 1975.
An emergency appeal to raise the money was launched in September after struggles to secure funding left the charity in financial trouble.
A £7000 grant from Brighton and Hove council and donations from loyal past callers who found support from the charity’s volunteer workers caused funds to pass the £12000 mark in January. Now there is new optimism that the Switchboard can reach its target following an expenses cutting move to the Community Base offices in central Brighton.
Lead Trustee, Mark Elsworth, said: “We provide a unique service to people affected by LGBT issues. There’s a misconception that we are only a helpline, but we provide an affordable counselling service to anyone that needs it.”
He added that the Switchboard aims to talk to anyone with a query or concern, regardless of their whereabouts.
Mr Elsworth said: “We’ve had people calling from rural areas who feel isolated for social reasons as well as their sexuality. We are also contacted by people that are happy in themselves, but are currently facing other problems. The fact that they are gay is in the backdrop.”
The charity is also calling runners to raise £500 on their behalf in the Brighton Marathon in March.
This event will make up the Switchboard’s final sprint towards carrying on an invaluable service that has traditionally sustained LGBT residents from Brighton and beyond.
If anyone would like to make donation, please visit the Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard website at www.switchboard.org.uk.
Or if anyone has queries regarding sexual or gender identity and are in need of information or support, phone 01273 204050 from 5pm to 11pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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