Youth Zone at Home: OnSide's response to Covid-19
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Pride Month is a time to celebrate LGBTQ+ communities, to come together and show allyship, to learn about Pride history, to look back at how far we have come and to continue to move forward in equality.
Our Network of Youth Zones have hosted some great activities throughout June, with more to come over the summer as Pride season continues.
With Manchester Pride’s theme being Garden of Freedom, Manchester Youth Zone senior members painted gnomes for the allotment. The activity was part of a project that looks at identity, with each gnome representing young people.
At Wigan Youth Zone, junior members painted rainbow flags in support of Pride, and celebrated the month with a quiz, performances and videos made by young people about what Pride means to them.
Future Youth Zone members and staff wrote a series of blogs offering advice that they would give their younger selves and to allies. You can read the series on Future’s website.
Blackburn Youth Zone has been running a ‘Behind the rainbow’ campaign and held a Rainbow Prom. One of the activities they did was to learn what each colour of the rainbow flag represents. Member Anna tells us why it’s important to teach others about the LGBTQ+ community.
The Hive Youth Zone in Wirral hosted a range of activities including creating a Pride playlist, Pride face mask decorating and Pride tie dye t-shirts. They also created a ‘Genderbread person’ which is an inclusive, visual aid designed to familiarise members with terminology and teach them about gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
The EmpowHER Girls Group at Inspire Youth Zone in Chorley created awareness packs that they shared with local businesses.
Unitas Youth Zone in Barnet has been sharing information on key members of the LGBTQ+ community.
At OnSide, our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (FREDIE) Group hosted an organisation-wide virtual get together, where we shared experiences and stories, and heard about the activities going on across the network.
“To embrace our value of Respect, it’s important that we have a culture where equality, diversity and inclusion is supported, championed and celebrated. Marking Pride Month and other calendar events throughout the year means we can celebrate the diversity of our people, share experiences and learn from each other. We had some great conversations during our virtual get together and it was brilliant to hear about the different activities happening across the network. We also spoke to our members to hear their experiences and to find out what Pride month means to them, and the positive impact the Youth Zone’s inclusive and supportive environment has on members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Greg Farrimond, FREDIE Group member.
Pride is important to members across the Youth Zone network and beyond. Esme shared with us why it’s important to her and other young people;
“As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month is already important to me because of the celebration of our history and future, looking back on the original riots and the rights that we now have. It’s a reminder of our freedom but also how far we’ve come despite the indications of still needing pride. Also it’s a point in time at which we can all be ourselves without worrying too much about what others think because we know and we’re reminded throughout that there is a whole community ranging in age behind us, supporting us. The Youth Zones do this even more! Not only do OnSide create safe and non-judgemental places for children or teens that give them somewhere they can go, they also offer a massive amount of support no matter who the youth member is. The Way Youth Zone even currently has their own LGBTQ+ support group for the senior members of the Youth Zone where you can go to have a chill and chat with people similar to you or play some games related to the subject. Some of us are even trying to look at attending a Pride event or holding one in the Youth Zone for Pride Month and the members of the Youth Zone. I find that Pride Month within Youth Zones is a reminder that we do have a place of support and a place in which no one is going to judge us for who we are which is even more helpful to those who unfortunately don’t have the support at home the rest of us may have. The education and support the Youth Zones offer is so valuable to everyone, especially during Pride Month.”
Esme, 15, The Way Youth Zone member.