Portsmouth LGBT support group's helpline suspended

A HELPLINE for an under-threat LGBT support group has been shut down.

Monday, 4th July 2016, 6:00 am
The Portsmouth Pride March makes its way to Southsea Common, led by Lord Mayor David Fuller

Chatterbox LGBT issued an urgent plea for volunteers to come forward to run its committee.

The News published its current chairman Tom Armstrong-Collett’s request for more people and has since received offers of help.

But because of pressures, he has shut the helpline number until September and suspended the film and reading groups.

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In his e-mail, current Mr Armstrong-Collett said: ‘So far, I have received eight offers of support, which I am very grateful for.

‘We do have a potential secretary and treasurer amongst them.

‘However, the committee is still in need of at least two more people.

‘If you think you can offer your help, then please do get in touch.’

He added: ‘To help strengthen the committee and reduce the pressures on my time, I have made the decision to temporarily close the telephone number, suspend film nights and the reading group.

‘This comes into effect from July 1 and it is hoped these will be back up and running by the end of September.’

Volunteers are needed to: use social media, produce newsletters, help run the website and co-ordinate volunteers to facilitate meetings and coffee groups.

Chatterbox LGBT was started in Gosport, but has groups in Portsmouth and Fareham and was instrumental in bringing the Pride events to the city.

Caroline Dinenage, Gosport MP, said: ‘It would be a shame to see something like this disappear because, although we’ve come a long way in LGBT rights and respect in recent years, there are still so many people who feel they cannot be themselves.’

She added: ‘It’s a shame if people feel isolated or intimidated because of who they are, particularly if people come from the trans community because I don’t think as a society we’re quite as accepting of them as we should be.’

Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, said the authority runs Portsmouth Together, which helps groups find volunteers.

He said: ‘That’s part of our commitment to support voluntary and charity organisations.’