Community News

Charity fears for LGBTQ+ people this Christmas

Graham Robson December 22, 2020

After a year that’s left many unable to spend time with family, London-based helpline charity Switchboard is concerned it is going to get a lot worse for thousands of people forced to spend the festive period alone.

Over the weekend many parts of the country were placed in the toughest Tier 4 category and the five-day Christmas bubble was scrapped.

Now with just a one day ‘bubble’ in the UK for meeting with family and friends and nothing for Tier 4 over the Christmas period many face the stark reality of being alone after it just got harder.

Research by insurance company Direct Line has shown that as a result of the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, 38% of 16-35-year olds, who identify as LGBTQ+, say they’re more nervous about going home this year than in previous ones.

Switchboard, a charity which operates a confidential helpline for LGBTQ+ communities across the UK, has this Christmas partnered with Direct Line to ensure helplines stay open during their busiest time of the year.

With calls to Switchboard going up nearly 17% year on year and up to 15% month on month in December and costing on average of £6 a call, the problem-solving insurer has pledged to fund the lines over the festive period to look after those in need of someone to talk to.

Natasha Walker, Switchboard co-chair, said: “Tens of thousands of people are now in lockdown once more, in situations that are difficult or complicated due to negative attitudes towards sexuality and/or gender identity.

“Christmas and the winter holidays can already be a lonely and isolating time for many. In addition the pandemic has kept families, friends and communities apart for many months and at this time of year people are anxious to be home with their loved ones.

“It’s vital that our helplines stay open for those who need someone to talk to during the winter holiday and working with Direct Line has ensured we’re able to keep them open as call numbers rise”

The campaign to keep Switchboard’s phonelines open will run throughout December and aims to provide vital support to those who need it this Christmas. For more information CLICK HERE