In Oxfordshire, early discussions have started on the need for more specialist services locally.

TOPAZ, an informal youth group for LGBTQ+ young people aged 13-18, have received funding from the Councillor Priority Fund thanks to Cllr Harrod approaching and joining forces with all the Councillors in West Oxfordshire so that TOPAZ can provide its LGBTQ+ support group for young people in Witney. TOPAZ already runs groups in Cowley and Oxford City Centre, as well as providing a parent support group.

Sarah Breton reports that a specialist pathway for young people with complex gender issues has been commissioned by NHS England and is available in London and Leeds. The service is provided by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, called the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS). There was also a GIDS-commissioned documentary ‘Kids on Edge’ produced by Channel 4 News explaining this service.

VOXY, in collaboration with Jo Brown, Oxfordshire County Council’s Anti-Bullying Coordinator, designed and took to the Oxfordshire County Council Anti-Bullying Week 2018 Youth Conference the questionnaire ‘Have your Say’, addressing young people’s awareness of LGBTQ+ main concerns. 50% of the attendees to the conference responded to the questionnaire. The report on the findings has been finalised and the main findings show that bullying is a key issue LGBTQ+ young people are struggling with locally and that more work needs to be done to address this.

Jo emphasised that the results from the report supports the need to keep the LGBTQ+ subject on the Children’s Trust Board (CTB) agenda and recommended that the board reviewed the LGBTQ+ strategy in 12 months.