LGBT Number3, North Devon Sunrise and Drink Wise, Age Well Devon have joined forces to relaunch the ‘ComeOut’ group to provide members of the LGBT+ community across North Devon with the opportunity to get together to enjoy events, activities, workshops, talks and counselling in Barnstaple on the first Saturday of every month.
The initiative from North Devon’s ‘Arm in Arm’ partnership has been a long time in the planning, and if last month’s launch event at the Sunrise Centre in Barnstaple is anything to go by will be much in demand.
Ahead of the group’s first get-together on Saturday, 7th April, Darren Walker of Drink Wise, Age Well said, “Our programme was set up in Devon to help people aged 50 plus make healthier choices about alcohol, and one of the findings of an initial study we did was that people with fulfilling hobbies and interests are far more likely to be able to cut back than those who don’t. We are delighted therefore to be joining with LGBT Number3 and Sunrise to offer a wide range of fun, fulfilling and inspirational activities to LGBT+ people of all ages from across North Devon.”
Ken Cornish of LGBT Number3 commented, “We are really excited about taking the ComeOut group to new heights, providing counselling, workshops, wellbeing, coffee and chat, plus guest speakers and day trips – really embracing the community and getting everyone involved. Bring your friends along – you don’t have to be LGBT+ to become a part of something special!”
Naomi Chunilal, Manager of North Devon Sunrise added, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Arm in Arm to relaunch the ComeOut group in Barnstaple for the LGBT+ community across the South West. We are very aware that there are very few other social activities and networks in Northern Devon for the LGBT+ community. We hope the ComeOut group becomes a vibrant LGBT+ social hub where everyone is welcome of all ages, backgrounds and identities from the LGBT+ community across the region.”
A survey of almost 17,000 people aged 50 plus about their drinking habits, carried out for Drink Wise, Age Well in 2015, found that older adults who are LGBT; not married, partnered, or cohabiting; live alone, or who have a longstanding illness or disability are more likely to be higher risk drinkers than those who are not. It also found that people who say they don’t engage in activities they find fulfilling are more than four times more likely to be higher risk drinkers.
The ComeOut group will meet in the Sunrise Centre on Castle Street in Barnstaple from 11 am to 1 pm on the first Saturday of every month. Entry is free and you should keep an eye on the group’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/ndcomeout for details of scheduled activities.