Bourne Free LGBT Pride 2024

Wishing our friends at Bourne Free a fantastic Pride. Your work through Pride is so important to celebrate our great LGBTQI+ communities family, with all we bring to our society and country, and of equal importance LGBTQI+ ‘Ally-ship.’ It is through ally-ship that so much has been and continues to be accomplished for the enrichment of our society and country.

This year’s Bourne Free Pride is especially auspicious as it comes at a time when the tide for introduction of robust legislation to ban the toxic mental health harming and suicides causing conversion practices is being at last being accorded with the seriousness that it has always deserved, but held back for so long by insidious far right influences that insidiously established themselves in politics. Pride is more important than ever too due to the said influences national and internationally connected efforts to target our Trans and Non-Binary communities.

On two very different and wholesome notes. Firstly, we are thrilled that an initiative that the Network has worked so hard across years to see established — namely a multiple relevant and key stakeholders in conjunction directly with our community, initiative to support our Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole area’s LGBTQ+ homeless and at risk of homelessness and sofa surfing communities — has taken form.

This is the BCP area BCP Council supported Homelessness Partnership’s LGBTQ+ Disproportionately Affected Sub-Group initiative, whose foundations were laid through centrally important LGBT+ Network for Change work (, including our initiative’s origins being grounded in appropriate supportive mental health services by the NHS. In this case this was achieved in the year before the Homelessness Partnership’s LGBTQ+ Disproportionately Affected Sub-Group initiative commenced with our partnering work and educational and training support services to NHS’ Dorset Healthcare Foundation Trust’s ‘Steps to Wellbeing’ programme.

After 1+ year’s direct and close work by Network Lead Alan Mercel-Sanca and the BCP Council supported Homelessness Partnership’s Lead, Fraser Nicholson, the LGBTQ+ Disproportionately Affected Sub-Group initiative was born. We from that point have played a key role in recommending appropriate organisations to be invited to join the Sub-Group, first of which was Bourne Free on our LGBTQI+ community local area’s side. So it gives us enormous joy that the special profiling of the Sub-Group initiative under the BCP Council Homelessness Partnership is going to have a special presence at this year’s Bourne Free.

We are very pleased to provide below copy of the Sub-Group supportive BCP Council Homelessness Partnership’s PRESS RELEASE, that includes a few words from ourselves:

‘New drive to prevent LGBTQ+ homelessness in the BCP area to be launched at Bourne Free
The Homelessness Partnership BCP is to launch a major homelessness prevention drive for the LGBTQ+ community in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole:’

The Partnership – made up of 50 local organisations that are committed to ensuring
everyone has a safe place to call home – will be offering support to LGBTQ+ people at the
Bourne Free pride event, which takes place at Meyrick Park on 5-6 July.
Charity Stonewall claims that almost one in five LGBTQ+ people experience homelessness at
some point in their lives. According to the Albert Kennedy Trust, 24% of young people
experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+ and 77% believe that coming out to their
parents was the main factor.

To ensure the BCP community is supported year-round to prevent homelessness, and not
just during the summer Pride season, the Homelessness Partnership has also launched a
dedicated LGBTQ+ support area on its website.
Bourne Free Co-Chair, Dawn Lewis, said homelessness prevention is “critically important”
for the LGBTQ+ community in BCP due to “several unique challenges faced by the group”.
Dawn explained: “Many LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly youth, experience rejection from
their families and communities, leading to a higher risk of homelessness. Discrimination and
stigmatisation in housing and employment also exacerbate this issue, making it more
difficult for LGBTQ+ individuals to find and maintain stable living conditions.

“A pride event like Bourne Free is essential as it celebrates diversity and serves as a vital
platform for raising awareness and providing support. Such events help to connect
individuals with resources, support networks and organisations that can assist in preventing
homelessness. By fostering a sense of belonging and community, pride events empower
LGBTQ+ individuals, reduce isolation and promote mental and emotional well-being.”

The Homelessness Partnership BCP will be active at Bourne Free, promoting its Let’s Talk
Renting service. People renting privately can call 01202 985104 for free advice on rent
arrears, eviction notices, mould, damp, property disrepair and anti-social behaviour.
Kate Parker, Strategic Lead at Shelter Dorset, said: “We know from our research that gay
and lesbian people are twice as likely to be discriminated against when looking for a home.
This campaign will play a vital role in raising awareness and providing homelessness support to the LGBTQ+ community. We encourage anyone who is struggling to get help and advice
as soon as they can.”

Jack Cannon, Team Leader at St Mungo’s Northover Court, pointed out that LGBTQ+
individuals, particularly transgender people, are at risk of violence. Jack said: “Some may
engage in sex work as a means of survival, increasing their vulnerability. Addressing these
issues with the partnership is vital to reducing homelessness and ensuring all LGBTQ+
individuals have access to safe, inclusive and supportive housing solutions.”

At BCP Council, Homelessness Partnerships Coordinator Fraser Nicholson explained why the local authority is backing the LGBTQ+ homelessness prevention drive.
Fraser said: “At a time where homelessness of all forms has been continuing to rise
nationally, and is affecting people that may not have previously been at risk of losing their
accommodation, we know that some groups remain at higher disproportionate risk.  This is
certainly the case with the LGBTQ+ community, particularly young people and trans people,
and we are committed to tackling this lack of equality as a local partnership.”

At the LGBT+ Network for Change, Network Lead Officer Alan Mercel-Sanca said enhanced
support for the “LGBTQ+ homeless and sofa surfing community was badly needed”.
Alan said: “Mental health support is a core foundation of our approach, given the extreme
distress caused by prejudice and attempted conversion practices of those finding
themselves in the terrible position of LGBTQ+ homelessness. We’ve been engaging the NHS
in this joined-up partnership approach from the outset – a unique initiative.” 

To find support from the Homelessness Partnership BCP, go to To discover
more about Bourne Free, visit

Finally, on a direct Network team note, we are delighted that on our recommendation to the Bourne Free Team, that Network Team member and volunteer, Sylvester Edwards (originally from the Caribbean, and who has experienced the very real horrors of conversion practices type influences) is a volunteer with Bourne Free LGBT Pride 2024. We wish Sylvester a fantastic Pride and greatly appreciate the Bourne Free Team’s inviting him to be a Bourne Free volunteer at this year’s Pride!