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MYPAS Secures Multi-Year Funding for LGBT+ Service

MYPAS receives a multi-year National Lottery award from The National Lottery Community Fund to support young LGBT+ people of East Lothian and Midlothian.

Local charity MYPAS is celebrating today after being awarded £150,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with LGBT+ young people in East Lothian and Midlothian for a 3 year period.

The charity, based in Dalkeith, will use the award to provide one-to-one support for LGBT+ young people living in East Lothian and Midlothian as well as community based group work. This successful outcome will mean stability for a much loved and needed service over the next 3 years – it is currently the only service of its kind in Midlothian and East Lothian.

Dave Evans, MYPAS Chief Executive shares what this award means for MYPAS: I am delighted that MYPAS has received this award from the National Lottery. It allows the organisation to further develop the LGBT+ support available in both East Lothian and Midlothian as well as provide a solid base for enhancing the service over the next three years. We are particularly pleased to secure the provision of this service in East Lothian which had been running on a pilot basis since June last year.

Our LGBT+ service supports LGBT+ young people to feel less isolated and supported with aspects of coming out, gender identity and mental health.

Paul Hunter, Service Manager has this to say: MYPAS’ LGBT+ Service is staffed by two highly experienced Development Workers who over the last few years have built up a rapport with young LGBT+ plus across Midlothian and latterly, East Lothian. Both staff are highly respected within local LGBT+ communities and champion the rights of young people, strengthening their voice and promoting a strong sense of self.

MYPAS is experienced in providing support to LGBT+ young people in East Lothian and Midlothian and our service has a positive impact on the young people we work with in reducing isolation, increasing confidence in who they are, increasing young people’s supportive social groups and giving young people ways to manage through difficult experiences and to maintain positive mental wellbeing. MYPAS staff actively advocate for young LGBT+ people and seek out opportunities for young people to engage with the wider LGBT+ community, including offering a safe group to attend Pride events with and taking part in Purple Friday and LGBT History Month activities.

Feedback from one of our current young service users: ‘MYPAS’ LGBT+ project is good for young people because it gives them a space to be comfortable and be themselves. You can also make friends and meet other likeminded people like yourself.

As well as that, there is always someone at MYPAS you can trust and talk to. There will always be someone there willing to listen or offer you help if that’s what you need. It feels like a very safe positive environment. It’s good for young people and has helped me a lot personally.’

MYPAS’ LGBT+ Service is highly respected in both localities and by professions who work with young people:as more young people feel able to speak about their sexuality, it is great to be able to signpost them to other organisations should they feel they need more support.’  

Our LGBT+ Service is staffed by Project Development Workers Leila Coward and Nicole Walsh. They shared what this award means to them and to the young people they work with:

‘We are delighted to have three years of funding to continue working with LGBT+ young people across East Lothian and Midlothian. Our groups give young people a safe space to celebrate LGBT+ identities and to meet other young people who they can relate to, as well as having a laugh! LGBT+ young people experience disproportionate levels of mental health issues. We welcome this funding to allow us to be able to provide young people with a space to explore their identity and increase their confidence and wellbeing. We know that the support and being able to attend our groups is important to young people who use the service. We are delighted that they can depend on the service being around for the next three years’ 

The National Lottery Community Fund, Scotland Chair, Kate Still said:in these unprecedented times, it’s heartening to see the way Scottish communities are coming together to provide each other with support.   I would like to congratulate MYPAS on their award which is testament to the incredible efforts of their staff and volunteers. National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is making such a difference.’