To improve our engagement with the LGBT+ community GDAS took the decision to do a stall at Pride Cymru. While our location wasn’t entirely promising being next to the bar, we took the opportunity to advocate the inclusiveness of our organisation and to help the event itself run safely.
We focused our efforts on providing harm reduction advice across all the domains where it would be useful. We therefore set up to help people understand their alcohol use, the impact of common party drugs and how to use them safely, how to support loved ones should they be using drugs and the sexual health advice necessary for when under the influence.
We received a number of nice comments and a selection of those follows. It was good to hear that where people do know us they have good things to say and that we were also engaging with under 18s whom we referred to N-gage:
- “It’s nice to see GDAS here for the first time- drugs and alcohol are such a problem within the LGBT community”.
- “I was at your base yesterday on Lower Dock Street. You really make your clients feel at home, more than when they are actually at home sometimes”
- “I want to thank you on behalf of my son for sobering up his mother”
- “you are working with my partner- doing a great job thank you”
- “Great Work”
- “the bottles are a great conversation starter”
- “the condoms are a great idea, I haven’t seen anyone else doing that”
- “really good to see some Naloxone stuff here”
- NML- well organised stand
- “you do a brilliant job there!”
- “what a great idea. Thank you”
- “friends in my class at school have been using those canisters”- took harm reduction leaflet
- “I have seen loads of those canisters around the back of my house, going to take a leaflet too talk to my kids about it”.
- “this is GDAS’s first year here isn’t it? It’s so good to see you!”
Overall this was just the tip of the iceberg- we had a positive reception from other stall workers and the public alike. It should also be noted that this event was a national event and thus the majority of the individuals there are not resident in Gwent. However, we spoke to around 200 people in all with Saturday being busier than the Sunday.
Many professionals came to talk to us and ask about what we do, they asked for soft copies of leaflets to display in their offices and we took their email addresses taken for these people to give them electronic resources. We received positive comments from the Police and also from the national BME inclusion lead who commented that it “Good to see GDAS thinking outside the box”.
We also provided a brief interview for Trans Radio UK and our details were placed on their website going forward and saw a senior member of the APB.
We also took the opportunity to deliver Naloxone training to one of the event volunteers who explained that it would help him in his role as a pharmacist and provided him with a kit. We also took a referral and offered them an initial assessment on that day.