The council is one of only three local authorities in the UK to receive this accolade.
The status recognises the continued efforts to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ace (LGBTQ+) children and young people in Portsmouth.
The report praised the provision of accessible support for LGBTQ+ children and young people. Due to popular demand, the youth groups have expanded to support a wider age range of children and young people, including their families. The 4U, 4Me and 4Us youth groups are run by experience, skilled youth team and offers a weekly youth group in a safe, secure and supportive environment. Alongside the group sessions, the team continue to provide one-to-one and family work with the aim to support young people to feel confident, competent, and resilient as an LGBTQ+ person. More information about the youth groups is available at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/lgbt-family
Through a strong partnership with city-wide organisations, groups and schools, training for a broad range of professionals is further embedding the important work to engage and support children and young people.
Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education and elected LGBT champion, recognised the importance of such a status: “It’s terrific news that the hard work on LGBTQ+ inclusivity in Portsmouth is leading the way nationally, and just in time for Pride.
“The award highlights the importance of working collaboratively across organisations in raising awareness and supporting young people in Portsmouth. But we know there is still work to be done and cannot rest on our laurels.”
Mo Wiltshire, Director of Education and Youth at Stonewall said: “Portsmouth City Council has worked hard to put LGBTQ+ inclusion at the heart of all that they do. We know how crucial it can be for LGBTQ+ children and young people to have services they can turn to when they are in need. This award recognises Portsmouth City Council’s efforts and commitment to making the world a better place for all LGBTQ+ children and young people.”
Cllr Chris Attwell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Central Services, said: “Everyone deserves to feel included regardless of who they are or their sexuality.
“The award is underpinned by our priority as a council to make Portsmouth a place where everyone is welcome. This important work focuses on the children and young people’s safety in our community and being free to flourish.”
Portsmouth City Council is committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion and fostering an environment where every person feels confident and safe to express themselves fully and without prejudice.
June marks Pride, a global movement promoting equal rights for LGBTQ+ people. There will be a march in Portsmouth on 11 June on Southsea Common. The youth groups and Members of Youth Parliament will have stalls at the event to answer any questions. The council will raise LGBTQ+ flags in Guildhall Square from 6 – 12 June.