Matt Rood, the current Mr Gay Europe 2017, supports fostering and adoption in the LGBT+ communities through his Pride Families campaign.
As part of his ongoing campaigning, Matt is calling on everyone in the LGBT+ communities to help raise awareness of fostering and adoption by hosting local events in support of Pride Families.
Matt believes providing opportunities for these children is important. In addition to providing care for ten children over three years with his former partner, Pride Families became the platform pledge for his winning bids both for Mr Gay England in May 2017, and again for Mr Gay Europe in August 2017.
Since winning his title, Matt has met in Parliament with Emma Lewell-Buck MP for South Shields and travelled to Oslo to speak with deputy leader of the Norwegian Labour Party Haida Tajik and leader of the party’s LGBT network Jon Ryder Øyan (image below).
Matt established Pride Families for the following reasons:
♦ To raise awareness that the LGBT+ communities can provide safe, loving and nurturing homes to children in need
♦ To provide education in schools about diversity and acceptance of ‘different’ families
♦ To create a support network and both social and charity events for adopters and carers within the many and varied LGBT+ communities
With a child being taken into the care system every 20 minutes in the UK alone, there is currently a need for over 9,000 foster carers.
There are very few same-sex couples who volunteer to foster, but if only 2% of LGBT+ people became carers, this alarming statistic would change dramatically and very quickly.
Matt says: “Fostering takes a lot of courage and strength, but the rewards are tremendous, and watching a child thrive and return to a stronger family unit is incredible.”
Matt and Pride Families have hosted activity weekends to encourage a sense of belonging and integration into local communities, to share stories and experiences, to make friends with other blended families, and to help support and advise one another with the challenging issues that come along with fostering and adoption. But most of all, to have fun!
Now he wants existing LGBT+ families and carers to host their own local events to help spread the word.
Two important charities in this area that Matt has worked with and supports are:
- New Family Social – the UK network for LGBT adoptive and foster families.
- Coram – An adoption charity who finds adoptive families for children in need of loving, permanent homes, and who help traumatised children express their pain through art and music, and who provide homeless outreach to young people.
When not campaigning for Mr Gay Europe and Pride Families, Matt runs a successful Brighton-based dog training and walking company, RoodDog. He is also a fitness model and TV presenter, having starred in Channel Watch’s reality series The Dog Hotel.
Matt loves living in a community like Brighton, and feels it’s given him the opportunity to be exactly who he wants to be. adding: “It’s vibrant, colourful, accepting – like no other city. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
If you would you like to support Matt and his cause and campaign or would like to do the same in your local community, contact Matt, he will appreciate your support and might have some advice on how you can go about helping.
To email Matt for more information, click here: