KaS is a collaboration between Club Kali (BAME LGBTQI social network) and Spectra (Sexual health and wellbeing service charity).
KaS project is hoping to provide safe online/ face-to-face meeting spaces for BAME LGBTQI people in London, to connect and access wellbeing information. Piloting 3 activity areas informed by service-user feedback about their needs:
A. Weekly online social-support groups (2 hrs. duration) for approximately 5 months. These will have embedded information sessions covering health & wellbeing: 1. mental health – mindfulness & wellbeing. 2. sexual health. 3. relationships & bereavement/ loss. 4. Flexible sessions with participant identified topics.
B. One face-to-face event (Covid-appropriate) for World Aids Day/ Diwali, 30+ people.
C. Four focused courses on issues people have asked for support with: relationships, domestic violence & coming out.
This project will benefit BAME LGBTQI people mainly from South Asian communities. Covid 19 has resulted in the temporary halting of Club Kali activities, usually the ‘go to’ BAME LGBTQI social network in London (& the UK). Crucially Club Kali’s activities provide a safe space where members feel anchored, validated, and supported to explore their identity. The lock down has resulted in isolation, and exacerbation of pre-Covid issues & inequalities faced by this BAME/ LGBTQI community.
Over 60% of people asked for support around relationships, loss and domestic abuse issues.
KaS aims to create much needed online & face-to-face spaces so LGBTQI BAME/ South Asian are able to reconnect with their peer-community, and access health and wellbeing activities. Participants can access specialised activities, resources & referrals to Spectra workshops, existing services such as counselling, specialised groups, testing, and ongoing support.
Our experience of 15 years of working together has shown community-led and peer-support approach enables trust, increase of access and uptake of services, especially where barriers exist e.g. stigma around mental health, sexual health & domestic violence, fear of disclosure & stereotyping that prevents people using support services. This is especially relevant considering around half of survey respondents had not disclosed their LGBTQI identity to their GP, meaning some issues/ needs were not likely to be discussed.
Club Kali and Spectra partnership brings together an existing minority peer-network & expert peer-services with already set-up & running post-Covid virtual services.
People will re-engage with a supportive community & be less isolated; they will have improved knowledge of wellbeing; greater awareness of support services available to them and confidence to use these.
Our next event is Tuesday, Nov 17 called “Let’s Talk PrEP and Sexual Health” with Phil Samba from PrEPster.