Statement from Bristol Hate Crime & Discrimination Services (BHCDS)

Change in our LGBTQ+ specialist partner from LGBT Bristol to Off the Record (Bristol) LGBTQ+ Service

It is with sadness that we are having to say goodbye to LGBT Bristol as our specialist partner for dealing with bi-phobic, homophobic, transphobic and other LGBTQ+ related hate crime and incidents.  This comes after working with them since we first formed in 2013.  We have enjoyed a wonderful partnership and jointly done so much positive work together to make a difference for local communities.

Unfortunately, LGBT Bristol announced earlier this year that they have to stop providing frontline services from 1st April because they have not managed to secure enough funding to continue to employ paid staff.  We all tried our hardest to stop this happening but it is a very tough funding climate and we couldn’t succeed.  They will now be transitioning to a voluntary network and we wish them all the best for their new beginnings and will be with them on that journey as much as we can.  We say a huge thank you to Sarah-Louise Minter who has worked above and beyond throughout the time we have worked together, to their very passionate and committed board and to Jo Jenkins, their wonderful caseworker who has been very supportive even while facing the close down of their service.  

On a positive note, we are very pleased to announce that Off the Record (OTR)

Bristol’s LGBTQ+ Service have agreed to be our new partner, led by their LGBTQ+ lead, Henry Poultney with Natasha Broad who also works for OTR and the full support of their CEO Karen Black.  OTR LGBTQ+ will be providing expertise, consultancy advice, education and awareness for all our collaborative partners and for local communities.  They will use their well-regarded skills for building confidence and trust in local LGBTQ+ communities to promote awareness of BHCDS, confidence to report to us and other key agencies such as the police and landlords or their employers.

“OTR is proud to join the BHCDS collaboration as an advisory partner for gender, sexuality and identity LGBTQ+ awareness, information and advice. We look forward to engaging with organisations, communities and individuals to raise awareness, educate and in turn, tackle hate crime and prejudice. You can find out more about OTR (Bristol) at www.otrbristol.org.uk”

SARI will now be providing the casework support for LGBTQ+ people facing any form of hate crime in the Bristol area.  

Our team are well practiced in providing support for LGBTQ+ related hate crime having provided this to B&NES, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire for nearly 4 years.  SARI is taking this element of the service on to ensure the safest and most consistent casework service for the next 15 months of this funding round until we know about the future of our funding.  We can offer a 24/7 out of hours phone service, a diverse casework team and a fulltime service for any victim in need.

We are ensuring that this transition goes very smoothly.  All clients who are being supported by LGBT Bristol are being offered a new SARI Caseworker and we are glad that all have accepted this offer without hesitation and will be transferred across by 1st April 2020.  

We have a strong and very supportive collaboration with all partners working together to make sure we continue to provide an excellent service to LGBTQ+ communities and our partners.  

Please share this information with any one you know who needs to know where to report LGBTQ+ related hate crime and who may need our support at any time.

If you have any queries about this change, please contact Alex Raikes MBE (Hon LLD), Strategic Director, SARI on tel: 0117 9420060 or e-mail:director@sariweb.org.uk