A new project to improve services and support for people in the LGBT community who are affected by cancer has been launched on Merseyside.

A new project to improve services and support for people in the LGBT community who are affected by cancer has been launched on Merseyside.

The Macmillan LGBT Cancer Project aims to ensure that the needs of LGBT people affected by cancer in the Liverpool City Region are acknowledged and addressed in the provision of services, information and support.

A key part of the project, which is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and hosted by Sahir House, is the Merseyside LGBT Health Survey 2018.

The survey will help the team build a picture of the health of LGBT people, and identify where any gaps are, and tailor resources and services to meet the specific needs of LGBT communities in Liverpool, Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

Richard Hunt, Partnership Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, who helped set up a similar successful scheme in Manchester, said, “LGBT people with cancer can often face disadvantage, inequality and discrimination. That’s why we have set up the Macmillan LGBT Cancer Project, and launched the Merseyside LGBT Health Survey, to get a greater understanding of the health of LGBT people across Merseyside.

“If you are an LGBT person affected by cancer, or have cared for someone from the LGBT community who has experienced cancer, then we want to hear from you. We currently have a national picture of the challenges faced by the LGBT community, when they are affected by cancer, but not a local one. We need to understand the issues and experiences faced by the LGBT community across Merseyside, so we can work together to tackle inequalities, address any unmet needs and bridge any gaps in service provision, and to help improve outcomes for people affected by cancer.”

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Clare Carter and James Huyton have been appointed as the new Macmillan LGBT Cancer Programme Co-ordinators at Sahir House, which has been providing HIV support, prevention, information and training across Merseyside since 1985.

Clare joins from the Terrence Higgins Trust, where she was involved in training, development and partnership work, while James joins from the LGBT Foundation and has a background in health promotion.

Over the next 12 months, the pair will host various events and campaigns to engage with LGBT communities looking at issues relating to cancer, reducing isolation and increasing awareness, information and wellbeing. They will also be engaging with professionals, and providing training and support, to help them meet the specific needs of LGBT communities.

Tessa Willow, Chief Executive of Sahir House, added: “Sahir House is excited to be working in partnership with Macmillan on this project, bringing this organisation’s extensive experience of engaging people from marginalised communities, including people from all parts of the LGBT spectrum. Sahir House is aware of the powerful affect discrimination can have on peoples’ abilities to access services on an equitable basis and the health inequalities that result from such discrimination.”