Kingston LGBT Forum runs a peer support project to help local LGBT+ people work together on the issues in their lives. The project is kindly funded by the National Lottery Community Foundation. We are continuing this project online through lockdown.

What does the project do?

The project brings together local LGBT+ people in pairs around similar interests and experiences to share their learning, skills and knowledge.

Buddies meet via Zoom, hosted through our website, where they can discuss the issues in their lives, what they would like to achieve, their set-backs and their improvements.

Buddies can also come along to our group session, which are currently also being held via Zoom. Each month, we run a number of group sessions, which include:

  • Virtual coffee mornings;
  • Virtual pub quizzes;
  • Group meditation and wellbeing sessions;
  • Fitness sessions;
  • Yoga sessions; and
  • Zumba work outs.

Who can take part?

The project is open to all LGBT+ people in Kingston. LGBT+ people from outside of Kingston are also welcome to get involved, however, where need is greater than capacity, we will prioritise people in Kingston.

What sort of things can buddying help with?

You can talk about whatever you agree with the person you are paired with. Some common issues and life experiences that you could talk about might include:

  • Coping with lockdown conditions;
  • Coming out
  • Getting a job or getting a better job
  • Learning a new skill
  • Studying together
  • Meeting other LGBT+ people
  • Improving fitness
  • Quitting smoking / drinking alcohol less / eating a better diet
  • Parenting
  • Making friends in a new town, if you’re new to Kingston
  • Caring for loved ones
  • Volunteering
  • Mental health challenges

The above examples are just suggestions and we would encourage you to be open with us about what you would like to discuss, so we can pair you with the most appropriate person.

How to get involved

If you would like to take part, please complete the sign up form. You will then be contacted by the project coordinator who will pair you up with another participant.

Before you start, you will need to fill in a short questionnaire about you expectations of the project and what you would like to achieve. You will also need to confirm that you will abide by our code of conduct.

The first meeting

The first time you meet your paired person will be via Zoom and the project coordinator will also be in the meeting. During this meeting, you will share what you hope to gain from the project. After the meeting, the project coordinator will ask you if you wish to continue with the person you have been paired with. If you decide not to continue, you can be re-paired or simply drop out of the project (you will still be welcome to attend the group sessions). If you wish to continue you will be encouraged to arrange a second meeting with the other participant. You can meet as often as you both agree and the Forum will help you set up more Zoom sessions.

Your expectations

The peer support project is not a dating or romantic match-making service. We ask that you do not join the project with the expectation of developing a sexual or romantic relationship or attraction to the person you have been paired with.

Sometimes you will be contacted by the project coordinator to ask how things are going. This is done to make sure you are enjoying the project, that your pairing is suitable, and that you find the pairing valuable. Your feedback also helps us make anonymous reports to our funder about the success of the project, and we would appreciate your help in responding to the project coordinator’s requests so as to keep the project running.

It is important to remember that peer support does not necessarily provide you with an expert who can tell you the answer to any problems you may have. Peer support is about pairing up individuals who can help each other through listening and sharing. You should always exercise your own judgement before following any advice or recommendations from other participants.

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