Salford Pride will be hosting an online event this Friday at 7pm aiming to raise spirits, called ChitChat.
The event is hosted during Covid-19 restrictions and also provide mental health support for those who need it.
Ricki Hewitt, head of people at Salford Pride, said: “We created this online platform for like-minded people to get together and connect.
“People in Manchester haven’t been able to access their usual support networks or see their friends and family. We wanted to make sure that the people in Greater Manchester, Salford particularly, have someone to talk to and check in with.”
The sessions revolve around peer support, well-being and include support from mental health services such as Mind in Salford, Samaritans, and Mermaids.
Hewitt said: “a lot of the people that access the normal events we do where people would be able to meet others haven’t been going ahead because of COVID-19. So as a committee, we wanted to host an alternative event to make sure people still had a way to connect with LGBTQ+ people and allies.
“In my day job, I work in the NHS and I know that mental health services have seen a 26% increase in severe cases.
“Salford Pride aren’t a mental health service, but the most important thing for people during this time is having someone to talk to and hearing a friendly voice. That’s why we wanted to make a safe space where people can have a chat and get that important support that’s been missing for a lot of people.”
“We know LGBTQ+ people disparately face mental health issues and deal with them three times as often than straight people. We’re offering this service as mental health services don’t always have the training or knowledge to deal with LGBTQ+ issues.
“We know that when people access services, one of their biggest worries is that they will be misgendered or treated differently, so we wanted to be an accessible service that recognises them and builds their support networks.”
Salford Pride first launched the project at the end of July this year and ran their first ChitChat session on September 1.
As we move into Tier 3, we want to make sure everyone stays well, connected & supported in the community, we’re relaunching our peer support group ‘Chit-Chat’ on 30th Oct, 7pm.
It’s an online safe space, and we’ll be including activities too.
— Salford Pride (@salfordprideuk) October 20, 2020
This Friday will be a Halloween special and will include pumpkin carving and a well-being session from LGBT charities such as Mind in Salford.
Hewitt said: “we know people feel alone and isolated in these times with Greater Manchester now being in tier three. So, we want to tell everyone we’re here and if you want someone to talk to, you can find a friendly voice to speak to and get support from here.”
If you want to get involved, ChitChat takes place every other Friday at 7pm for an hour.
Find out more at this link here