Newham’s only LGBT group for teenagers saved from closure

Paris is the only group supporting the young LGBT community in Newham. It lacks funding and could cl

Paris is the only group supporting the young LGBT community in Newham. It lacks funding and could close by the end of the year. - Credit: Archant

The only group supporting the young gay and lesbian community in the borough has been saved from closure after raising thousands of pounds.

The Paris LGBT group, supported by Aston Mansfied charity, raised £6,115 after gaining the support of 99 backers in 29 days.

The group kickstarted the crowdfunding campaign last month to raise £6000 in order keep the club running.

One service user said the money will benefit future members of the young LGBT community in the borough.

The 18-year-old, who attends NewVic College, said: “Raising the £6000 and more means that I will be able to go somewhere where I can be safe, where I can be myself and where I can be happy.

“The money will benefit those coming after me and Paris can be there for those young people, whether they’re gay or straight, helping them through difficult times and giving them a proper education about LGBT.”

Dawn Ballinger, who heads the weekly group in Manor Park, for teenage gay, lesbian and transgender people from across east London said she was “thrilled” with the results.

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She added: “I’m very happy we’ve raised enough money to keep Paris going and want to thank everyone who has supported us and donated.

“It is such a vital service for the young LGBT community. We attract youngsters all the way from Essex and we also work with schools and colleges to provide educational programmes teaching students about LGBT so it is a much needed service in this part of London.”

As part of the campaign, the group hosted a charity football match at the Old Spotted Dog Ground in Upton Lane, followed by a screening of the film Pride at Stratford Picturehouse.

The funds will help run the service for another year. However, Dawn said they will need to raise even more money to secure the future of the group.

She said: “Even though we are amazed with all the help we received. We will still need to raise more money in the future.

“This money will be keep us going for another year.”

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