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Purpose & Values

Fruitbowl is all about meeting other LGBT young people, having a space to be yourself and talk about your feelings and experiences in a place where you won’t be judged. Fruitbowl aims to give LGBT young people the strength and support to make their lives the way they want them to be.

What Does it Do?

The overall aim of Fruitbowl is to provide age-appropriate support to LGBT young people of school age in an affirming and inclusive environment. This is delivered in a variety of ways:-

  • A youth group that meets every Thursday (for young people aged 12-15) and Friday (for young people aged 16-17) at 5.00 – 7.00 pm at a city centre location. The group offers a range of activities, discussions and workshops on issues such as self-esteem, assertiveness, coming out, dealing with homophobia and building a positive self-image. There are also plenty of opportunities for young people simply to have fun and meet other LGBT young people.
  • A one-to-one support and listening service, available in school, college or youth and community locations to suit the young person.
  • Telephone information and support
  • A text service
  • Email support
  • Referral to specialist counselling and support services (where appropriate and agreed).

Who is running the service?

The Fruitbowl is a Sheena Amos Youth Identity Trust (SAYiT) initiative. SAYiT is a local charity which works to promote the sexual health and emotional well-being of young people in Sheffield.

The Fruitbowl is facilitated by qualified and experienced youth workers with a background in working with LGBT young people.

Why is Fruitbowl needed?

The short answer is because prejudice, discrimination, negative attitudes and fear still abound about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people.

It can be extremely tough to be a young person who is LGBT or who thinks they might be. A young person may risk losing friends, angering their family, and/or being bullied, attacked or publicly ridiculed, sometimes systematically, sometimes for years, if they are honest about their feelings. This happens to some of the young people we work with.

It isn’t always the case. A young person may be supported, loved, accepted and celebrated for who they are – by friends, family, teachers and other influential adults in their lives. This happens to some of the young people we work with.

We think such acceptance should be the case for every young person. Regardless of their sexuality and indeed of any other factors intrinsic to their identity.

Often young people who are either thinking about, or are in the process of, ‘coming out’ can feel confused, isolated and vulnerable. Negative messages about being LGBT that are reflected by the media, religion, families, peers etc. can, and do, have a profound and detrimental effect on the mental well being of lesbians, gay men and bisexual people. Research and experience clearly show that gay and lesbian people have high rates of depression, low self esteem, self harm and substance misuse problems which are often linked to early messages about their sexuality and worth in society. Figures for teenage suicide attempts also indicate that gay & lesbian young people account for a disproportionately high rate of all young people who self harm and attempt suicide.

Working appropriately with LGBT young people at an early age can really help them develop a positive image of their sexuality and counter feelings of negativity, isolation and low self-esteem which can also help to promote strong mental, emotional and sexual health.

At the Fruitbowl we believe in supporting and affirming all sexualities. If a young person seeks advice or comes to the group, they will be given the space and support to talk about and explore their feelings about their own sexuality. Whether they subsequently identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual this will be accepted, valued and affirmed.

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