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BeLonG To has expanded and changed a great deal since it's inception. We have grown from a voluntary youth group to being a significant national service and policy organisation. Below is a little bit about how we got to where we are today!
BeLonG To developed from a voluntary youth group – OutYouth – which had been meeting in Dublin on and off for over 15 years. This group was run by young people for young people with the support of Gay Switchboard Dublin. While OutYouth was often an excellent group and a model of youth work, sustaining its work was often difficult. Because it totally relied on the voluntary commitment and leadership capacity of young volunteers the group at times became unstable and even closed when youth leaders moved away or were no longer able to commit their energies.
In its final years a small number of very committed youth facilitators ran the group but also worked closely with a consultant who was brought in by Gay Switchboard Dublin to explore possible supports for the group.
As part of this work, OutYouth called a community roundtable discussion to explore putting together a sustainability plan for the group. Most LGBT community groups in Dublin participated, as did the City of Dublin Youth Services Board. Out of this meeting a smaller working group was formed, of individuals and representatives from OutYouth, The Gay Men’s Health Project, Gay Switchboard Dublin, Gay HIV Strategies, OUThouse and the City of Dublin Youth Services Board.
This steering group worked for two years developing policies and pocedures and funding proposals. Through this work the Youth Affairs Section of the Department of Education and Science committed to fund a new LGBT youth project. This funding was to be be administered by the City of Dublin Youth Services Board.
In March 2003 the new youth project opened for business. Soon after the name BeLonG To was adopted.
Youth Work, Youth Work, Youth Work, & our first awareness campaign and schools work
Increased services to young people, Research, National Development, Campaigns - BeLonG To comes of age!
New Strategic Plan, increased staff, increased capacity to deliver for LGBT young people
Make your school LGBT friendly and inclusive.
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