Support U opened its doors in 2011 as a support and resource service for the LGBT community of the Thames Valley. The charities founders Andrew Stonehill-Brooks and Lorna McArdle had been previously involved within the LGBT community in Reading, with both holding positions on the Reading Pride organising committee. During the 5 years we have advised on loads of cases with issues ranging from coming out and transitioning to sexual health and hate crime. We have seen most things in just our short history.
In the summer of 2012, Andrew and Lorna were given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch in recognition for their work within the local LGBT community.
In 2014 we moved from our single office in South Street Arts Centre, to our own building in Castle Street in the heart of Reading. The extra space allows us to support and offer a variety of new services and groups whilst accommodate our growing support and volunteer base.
2015 was by far the busiest and biggest year for Support U. We welcomed our 35th volunteer and launched the Hidden Voices History project in conjunction with the Heritage Lottery Fund and Reading Museum. Last year also saw Support U become Sainsbury’s Charity of the Year, this was a key milestone for both organisations as it was the first accolade that the charity had won but also the first time Sainsbury’s has supported an LGBT organisation.
So far 2016 is shaping up to be another busy year for us at Support U as we build our relationship with Stonewall and deliver more anti-bullying training to schools. We are also keen to develop the services we provide and have currently launched two new support groups for families and young people.
A big thank-you to all who have helped Support U to grow and continue to provide support to the LGBT community of Reading and the Thames Valley. We really couldn’t have achieved half of this without your help.
Thanks to nick from support u for providing this for us.