LGBT support group has uncertain future

Last weekend's Portsmouth Pride march
Last weekend's Portsmouth Pride march
The Rampant at the ramparts of Portchester Castle in 1967. L to r: Peter Richardson (aka Ritchie Peters  they turned his name around) vocals, Ron Hughes guitar, Ken Hughes (his brother) drums, Don Golding bass, Mick Cooper Hammond organ.

NOSTALGIA: Still Rampant after all these years – the band that just keep giving...

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ISOLATED gay people could lose a ‘vital service’ if a support group is forced to close due to a lack of volunteers.

Chatterbox LGBT has about 30 people attending coffee groups and is the organisation that brought the gay Pride march to Portsmouth.

Now with just one committee member left running three groups in Fareham and in the city it is facing collapse.

Current chairman Tom Armstrong-Collett said without volunteers, vital support for isolated LGBT people would disappear.

In an email to supporters he said: ‘Without a chairperson, treasurer or secretary and other members to stand on the committee, we will have to do the unthinkable and close a vital service that is needed for so many people.’

Speaking to The News he added: ‘Currently between Fareham and Portsmouth we have coffee groups and we also have a coffee group for transgender people and help those if they’re isolated and hopefully build their confidence so they can live a life they actually want to.

‘It would basically mean the support for all those who are isolated would completely disappear.’

About 30 people travel from across the towns and Havant and Waterlooville to the groups.

Tom added: ‘When they first approach us they don’t have any friends, they are completely on their own, with self-esteem at the lowest point they can have.

‘They come to the group, meet a couple of people, they feel more confident and some people feel so confident that they actually come out properly.’

Asked about the potential closure of the group Flick Drummond, Portsmouth South MP, said: ‘That would be very disappointing.

‘I would urge people to come forward.’

She added: ‘If people are alerted to the fact that this could be an issue I hope someone will come forward, certainly I will keep my ears open and speak to a few people to see if they could do something.

‘That support network is absolutely crucial.’

Contact chair@chatterboxlgbt.org.uk