We love supporting our tenants, especially when they want to make a difference in their communities.

So we were delighted to attend Lytham Let Live LGBTQ+ Friendship Group’s 10th anniversary celebrations at Fylde Town Hall, which also coincided with Pride Month.

The independent group was set up by one of our tenants, Andrew Noble, and we have enjoyed watching it evolve over the years.

Andrew, who lives in St Annes with his husband John, said:  “The group came about when I was working as a Police Community Volunteer for Fylde Police, and was asked to set up an LGBT+ friendship group in St Anne's, Lytham, Kirkham and Wesham, and help tackle any hate crime.

"It's no longer police-led, but the group has continued and has grown from strength to strength – open to all from the LGBTQ+ community and our allies.

“We aim to tackle isolation and loneliness, and the key word for us is friendship. People start off coming to us with very few friends and nothing in their diaries but once they join us, their diaries are full. We organise activities like chair-based exercises, low impact Zumba, and walking. People also meet up on their own in between our meetings. Many mature and retired people attend, but it's also a great welcoming environment for any younger LGBTQ+ people to come along and get any advice or information they might need.

“I am really grateful for everyone’s support, including Lancashire Police, Lancashire County Council and Fylde Council.

“I am also grateful for the backing of Progress Housing Group. I live in a neighbourhood where everyone knows who I am. I don’t have to hide away and that is possible thanks to Progress’s LGBT support and encouragement to be myself in my own home.”

The event was a good chance for members to catch up, as well as find out useful information, with talks from Horizon and a member of Lancashire Police.

Carolyn Mercer, who has helped Andrew run the group since the beginning, spoke about the history of discrimination the LGBTQ+ community has faced, saying: “We are attacked for being different, but we are all unique. They are saying we are less equal but I know I am worth the same as anyone else on this planet and I demand respect as a human being. My identity is mine and mine alone.

“Together we can change the world for the better and that is what this group is all about.”

Lytham Let Live is an independent group which meets every first Wednesday of the month in St Annes. It is open to any members of the LGBTQ+ community. For more information follow the group on Twitter @LythamLet.

To read Andrew's story visit Guest blog | Lytham Let Live for LGBT+ History Month | Progress Housing Group (progressgroup.org.uk)

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