Since our first meeting in early 2019, Rainbow Bedfordshire has been a very active steering group, founded by ELFT People Participation in Bedford.
We have regular attendance from Trust service users/carers, staff, and representatives from local authority and third sector organisations. The campaign gained momentum early on.
Our original purpose was to tackle the gaps in services to increase support for LGBTQ+ people. As part of this process, we also noted the apparent absence of LGBTQ+ folk in Bedford.
In 2019, we:
- Made the Rainbow Lanyard available to our staff allies in local mental health services
- Began to address the issue of gendered toilet facilities at Trust sites
- Started co-producing a revised transgender policy for Trust inpatient settings
- Co-produced leaflets detailing support and resources available locally and nationally (continually updated)
- Looked at the general lack of visibility locally, and had rainbow flag stickers and postcards designed to identify welcoming social spaces in Bedford.
In 2020 we:
- Launched Rainbow Bedfordshire at a local café.
During the pandemic we:
- Completed the Transgender Inpatient policy
- Co-produced training workshops for staff teams
- Collaborated with the Bedfordshire and Luton Recovery College in facilitating Being Me, an LGBTQ+ peer support and discussion group which meets on a monthly basis. The online platforms available have enabled greater inclusion across our county
- Delivered training to local authority staff.
In late 2021, we looked forward to how we could relaunch, and what we could offer our local communities.
- We have just received a grant from the ELFT Innovation fund to set up an LGBTQ+ Trans Inclusive Swimming Club
- We are organising a Pride in the Park event in Bedford, this will connect ELFT, third sector organisations, local businesses and members of local communities
- There is now an increased demand for our Trans training from within ELFT as well as external organisations.