This LGBT+ history month, Sandwell Council is providing funding to voluntary community organisations working to improve health and wellbeing for the borough’s LGBTQ+ community.
Under the initiative, the Council’s Public Health team will allocate a total grant of £50,000 to Sandwell Community and Voluntary Sector Organisation (SCVO) to allow community organisations to apply for small grants to fund their own projects.
According to the 2021 census there are approximately 6,810 people in Sandwell who identify as LGBT+. National evidence shows that people who identify as LGBTQ+ face health inequalities and worse health outcomes and experiences of healthcare than the rest of the population. The LGBTQ+ health challenge initiative aims to improve physical and mental health, healthcare access, and social connection leading to better health outcomes for the LGBTQ+ community in Sandwell.
Sandwell’s Public Health Team will seek bids from community organisations that help to improve access to healthcare services, physical activity, mental health and wellbeing, and social isolation.
Last year, the Council commissioned a qualitative engagement and consultation exercise with Sandwell’s LGBTQ+ community. The aim of the consultation was to gather insight to understand the needs and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community, both young people and adults, in Sandwell, and to inform how to improve health outcomes.
The consultation exercise made four key recommendations:
- Promote and build on the interest in opportunities for group physical activity
- Support mental health and wellbeing initiatives tailored to the LGBTQ+ population
- Explore ways to improve access to healthcare, particularly general practice, for the LGBTQ+ community and
- Support Sandwell LGBTQ+ community groups and peer networks for different age groups, including the elderly and young.
Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults Social Care and Health, said: “Sandwell Council is committed to ensuring that people live healthy lives, and live for longer, and making Sandwell a place where those who are vulnerable are respected and cared for. Our Public Health team is working to reduce health inequalities and narrow the health gap in groups with protected characteristics. We have listened to our LGBT+ community and heard them say that they are at risk of poorer health and wellbeing outcomes, and so we have made resources available to address the health inequalities experienced by the LGBTQ+ community in Sandwell. I would like to thank Councillor Richard Jones and Councillor Bill Gavan for their insight in developing this consultation, and for their advocacy and representation of the LGBT+ community in Sandwell.”