Date: 11 Jan 2023
A public consultation to consider the need for a dedicated LGBTQIA+ Hub in Belfast has begun.
The consultation results will help inform a feasibility study that has been commissioned by Belfast City Council to establish the benefits of a dedicated building for organisations representing the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as the likely demand for facilities and services within such a building.
The study aims to establish the evidence base required for funding applications and potential future business cases for a dedicated LGBTQIA+ Hub.
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Christina Black said: “As many LGBTQIA+ organisations receive little or no core funding, covering rent and other overheads can be extremely challenging. In response, Cara-Friend, HEReNI and The Rainbow Project all currently rent space in a building known as the LGBT Centre.
“But with demand for services increasing significantly in recent years, and with many other LGBTQIA+ organisations renting separate premises, there appears to be a strong economic case for establishing a dedicated LGBTQIA+ Hub. The study will look into this in detail to establish if that is the case.
“The consultation will also provide valuable insights into specific facilities and services that users would expect to be available in a dedicated hub, likely demand from users and people’s views on possible locations.”
On behalf of the LGBTQIA+ Steering Group, Karen McShane from The Rainbow Project, said: “The successful development of the LGBTQ+ Hub will help promote Belfast as an inclusive, prosperous and vibrant city for all. The community welcomes the study by the City Council to assess the long-term needs of the Northern Ireland LGBTQ+ sector and the viability of a future hub to serve their needs. The expert lifesaving services delivered by Cara-Friend, HERe NI, Transgender NI and The Rainbow Project are inhibited by the lack of a permanent home and for many years LGBTQ+ organisations have rented buildings which quickly become not fit for purpose due to the continued increase in demand for services.
“The development of a dedicated facility in Belfast will put in place appropriate facilities to support the LGBTQ+ community on their journey and allow them to be their true selves whether in work or in family life. This will ensure that they have increased energy, better performance and stronger relationships with their peers. With appropriate facilities it will save lives. The study will set out a future viability for the operation of the support centre and put in place an appropriate Governance Model to ensure its future needs. We look forward to the successful outcome of the study and a positive recommendation on the way forward.”
People can find out more and give their views by completing a questionnaire on Belfast City Council’s consultation website at yoursay.belfastcity.gov.uk until 26 January 2023.