Thursday, 20th September 2018
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Eighteen local young LGBTI+ make history!

Eighteen young people from ChillOUT, Waterford recently travelled with four volunteers and two youth workers to attend the launch of the LGBTI+ youth strategy in meeting house square Dublin on Friday the 29th of June, they heard from Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Catherine Zappone and independent chair of the development committee Una Mullally.

This three year strategy sets out to change what it means to grow up LGBTI+ in Ireland. The development of this strategy included online consultations and regional events to hear young people's voices about what they need, the South East regional consultation was held in the Manor Youth Cafe in May 2017. Debbie the youth worker with the Waterford group also attended the stakeholders consultation event.

ChillOUT is Waterford's LGBTI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and other gender identities and sexualities.) youth group which runs weekly at The Manor Youth Cafe in the Edmund Rice Youth & Community Centre on Manor Street.

Every Sunday from 3-6pm, young people aged 14 – 21 come together and work towards this mission - to provide a safe supportive community where LGBTI+ young people are accepted and appreciated for who they are and encouraged to take *PRIDE* in themselves.

Learning and awareness of LBGTQ experiences and issues is created and addressed through activity and where young people have a say and take charge of running their own affairs. Young people are in charge here and they set the agenda for what the group gets involved with and does from week to week. On the 30th of June we also attended a delicious pre Pride breakfast at Youth Work Ireland headquarters hosted by Youth Work Ireland. We met Senator David Norris as we approached the building and he was so impressed to see such a big group from Waterford. We caught a dedicated Luas tram to the start of the parade marched with over 400 LGBTI+ young people, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone and Former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese and her family. ChillOUT youth project started as an initiative of Waterford & South Tipperary Youth Service in 2007 with youth worker Trina Tsai to reach out to and support young LGBTI+ in Waterford and surrounding areas.

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