Published on: 20 July 2022

Healthworkers are preparing to join the return of Northern Pride after they spent last month raising awareness of the work they do to support the LGBT+ community.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust works throughout the year to support patients and runs its own Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Plus (LGBT+) Staff Network for its workforce.

Throughout June, the Trust worked to highlight the support available to staff and patients and raised the Pride flag at its hospitals.

Among the teams to support the campaign were Sexual Health Services in South Tyneside and Gateshead, who spent Pride Month raising the profile of the support they provide and are now planning to attend Northern Pride’s events next month as they return following the pandemic.

The community-based teams offer rapid access through self-referral, so people can directly access specialist care without a referral from their GP. This includes services such as sexual transmitted infection (STI) screening, contraception and a counselling team who offer therapy for people experiencing issues with their sexual health.

It is hoped more people will feel confident in coming forward to get checked out or seek advice as a result of finding out more about what they offer.

The teams’ Pride efforts are backed by the Talking Therapies and Lifecycle Services, which supports children, young people and adults, with their mental health.

They will join forces to take part in this year’s Northern Pride event in Newcastle from Friday, July 22, to Sunday, July 24.

Members of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust's Sexual Health Services and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team are joining in Northern Pride..JPG

They will join in the Pride March on the Saturday and will run a hub, offering advice and information about the support they can offer as part of stalls set up on the Town Moor.

Dan Dobson, the Trust’s Sexual Health Outreach Lead, said: “Northern Pride has been one of the pioneering LGBT+ events in the North of England and has always championed the quick access services, just like ours, which are set up to offer access to information and treatment.

“We’re really looking forward to the return of the event for the first time since 2019 after two years of COVID restrictions and it’ll see us offer information and support to Pride attendees.”

The Trust encourages its staff to be allies through its Rainbow Badge pledge scheme and runs awareness training, is a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme and has commissioned gender identity training.

Jake Higgin is an Inclusion Officer with the Trust’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, which attended Sunderland and South Tyneside Pride events.

He said: “As an organisation, we work hard to support our own staff and patients and represent them across everything we do.

“We’re so pleased to be part of the return of Northern Pride and supported annual Pride Month as we support our LGBT+ communities to have a voice.”

Northern will feature entertainment, various LGBT+ safe zones, information stalls, and market stalls across the Town Moor as well as a series of satellite events, with the event to mark 50 years since the first Pride march took place in the UK.

During last year’s Pride, the Trust continued to support the campaign as it worked alongside others across the region to run a week of online sessions.

Details of the Trust’s Sexual Health Services can be found by clicking here while details of mental health services offered by the Trust can be found by clicking here.