The National Lottery Fund has supported Just Like Us with a new generous donation. On 13 September, the largest community funder in the UK announced that they would be giving the LGBTQIA+ organisation £435,250 to help with its Pride Groups programme.
The inclusive initiative – which has been implemented in secondary schools across England and Wales – is a national network of lunchtime or after-school clubs that provide safe places for LGBTQIA+ and ally young people to socialise, learn and receive support.
In addition, Pride Groups also provide expert training and immersive resources for staff and student leaders to support their local LGBTQIA+ student body.
According to a press release, the large donation will be distributed over three years. With this new grant, Just Like Us plans to transform and expand the Pride Groups programme into “an initiative that will support approximately 16,000 LGBT+ young people and allies across 1,600 secondary schools in England and Wales.” In a statement, Laura Mackay – Chief Executive of Just Like Us – expressed her excitement over The National Lottery Fund’s support. “With the support of The National Lottery Community Fund, Just Like Us will be able transform our Pride Groups programme, helping more pupils than ever before to become better allies, to feel connected to the LGBT+ community and to make positive changes in their schools and local communities,” she said. “All young people deserve to feel that school is a safe place where they are supported to be themselves, and I cannot thank National Lottery players enough for helping to make this a reality for LGBT+ pupils across England and Wales.” Deputy Director of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund Melissa Eaglesfield echoed similar sentiments before expressing the importance of community outreach. “Our ambition is to invest most in places, people and communities experiencing poverty, disadvantage and discrimination.