Back Freedom

Location

Online
Bristol

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Age range

13-25 year olds

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Freedom is OTR’s LGBTQIA+ youth programme, providing a safe and supportive space for young people aged 11-25 who are LGBTQIA+ or are exploring their gender and sexuality.


 

 

What is Freedom?

Freedom is an informative, fun and sociable space where young people can build community and friendships. This short film, made to celebrate Freedom’s 25 anniversary, shares what the group means to young people in Bristol and how it has helped them.


LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, questioning or queer and the ‘+’ includes other diverse identities such as asexual, demigender, non-binary, pansexual, etc. You can find a more detailed explanation of gender and sexual identities in this online glossary. Freedom is open to anyone questioning their sexuality or gender and is supported by a team of friendly and knowledgeable LGBTQ+ youth workers.

Here’s what’s on offer…

Freedom Youth (age 11-14)

Freedom is a friendly, welcoming and relaxed space that helps young people be themselves, find friends and get the support they need. Freedom sessions are full of fun ways to express ourselves and learn new things. 
 
We also work with lots of community partners, and go on trips. 

This will run on selected Tuesdays (approx. once every 6 weeks) at OTR West Street, from 17:45-19:30.

Please use the sign up button to get involved or email LGBTQ@otrbristol.org.uk for next steps.

Freedom Youth (age 13-18)

A relaxed space where young people can make friends and find support. Our sessions are full of ways to be creative and express ourselves, as well as workshops that tackle topics like keeping safe.

We also have lots of exciting opportunities for new experiences with community partners to help us try new things and gain new skills. The group is supported by friendly and experienced youth workers, and decide on what we do, which includes trips, games and socials.

SIGN UP HERE

Freedom (age 18-25)

A friendly, relaxed social space where you can meet and be around other LGBTQI+ people. Each session has optional activities informed by the group members’ interests. This could be something creative, something about queer history, a group discussion… But if the activity isn’t your thing, you can also come for a chat 🙂

Sessions happen weekly, but you can attend as often as you’d like. We also sometimes go to events together – think local theatre shows, exhibitions, and pride – or have external organisations in to run sessions!

If you are 18 and not sure which group is the best fit for you, please get in touch lgbtq@otrbristol.org.uk. 

SIGN UP HERE

Upon signing up for Freedom you will be contacted with next steps, dates and times. We deliberately don’t put the dates and times on the website for Freedom for confidentiality reasons.


Parent Session 

We’re offering a a one-off peer support session on August 15th for parents and carers of LGBTQ+ young people.

This two-hour facilitated workshop is an opportunity for you to ask questions and share your experiences with each other, as well as offering solidarity and support.

You can sign up here.


OTR’s Freedom project was proudly part of the transformational Queer Futures 2 (QF2) research, exploring LGBTQ+ young people’s mental health. Queer Futures 2 is working with 12 best practice agencies (of which Freedom is one!) who are leading the way in championing LGBTQ+ young people’s mental health. This research will influence and shift NHS policy making decisions for the next few years.

Working together with EACH our young people created ‘What is gender?’ a short film with documentary and animation:


Partnerships

We are proud to work with Voice and Influence as the LGBTQ+ Delivery partner. They work to make sure that individuals, groups and communities whose voices aren’t always heard are listened to, and are part of shaping Bristol’s future. Check out their Twitter and Instagram pages to find out more about what they do. 


We also work with work with Bristol Hate Crime and Discrimination Services as their LGBTQ+ advisory partner. If you have experienced or witnessed a hate crime, you can contact us for a chat and support here or you can call our 24/7 freephone number on 0800 171 2272.

If you are unsure whether to report or you are nervous about what to expect if you do, you can talk to us. We can give you advice and help you pass on information if you choose.

"When I found Freedom I was lost and confused. Freedom acted as a map, to help me navigate my own path through the confusing world of gender, sexuality and identity, and now I can confidently and comfortably be myself"
Freedom feedback
"I love coming to Freedom and socialising with people who are LGBTQ+ as it makes feel more connected with everything"
Freedom feedback
"It provides a space where I feel like I’m free from judgement and able to explore without feeling like I have to have all the answers"
Freedom Member
Freedom

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