The event, themed ‘Barnardo’s coming out’, will feature a group of young people who have agreed to talk about the difficulties they have faced as part of the LGBT community and how Barnardo’s has supported them.
Barnardo’s national LGBT forum chair and conference organiser Janice Hawkes says;
“We aim to shine a spotlight on the specific issues service users have to work through.
“Barnardo’s has worked hard to become more visible as an organisation that cares and responds to LGBT staff, service users and volunteers, but there are still hills to climb.”
Barnardo’s work has been recognised by the Stonewall Workplace Index for 2011 where the charity sits in the top 100 employers.
Barnardo’s director of children’s services Jane Stacey says;
“Increasing the visibility of LGBT people within Barnardo’s and among external audiences reinforces Barnardo’s policies on equality and diversity.
“We continue to strive to ensure that Barnardo’s is always a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for anyone, including the young people we work with.”
Lauren, 16, a Barnardo’s Yorkshire service user, who will share her story later today at the conference, says;
“My support worker was so helpful and the more I learnt, the less alone I felt.
“She was there every step of the way when I told my parents about my sexuality and after that I finally felt like myself. It was like a huge weight was lifted.”