As the Kite Trust’s new friendship scheme goes live today (Tuesday), a Cambridge family talks about how this small local charity for LGBT+ young people helped them through a crisis.
The Kite Trust’s new friendship scheme goes live today
When Terry Furlong (above) was looking for somewhere to turn to help his son, a small charity based in central Cambridge was a lifeline.
“I am the father of two sons and always have been. The only difference between me and every other dad of two boys is that one was born a girl,” says Terry Furlong, Noah’s father.
“About ten years ago, my eldest wrote me a letter explaining why he had been so sad and troubled and that, whilst we had asked for help from our GP and the NHS, nothing much had changed.
“We found the Kite Trust like everyone finds everything these days, on the internet. We did not know what to expect and our first approaches were uncertain and, frankly, doubtful. We were all afraid that it might all just be another false start. However, The Kite Trust has been stunningly good.”
The Kite Trust has been helping LGBT+ young people in Cambridgeshire for over 25 years. It has come a long way from running a weekly lesbian and gay youth club to being the lead organisation for LGBT+ youth in the East of England. The Kite Trust still runs youth groups in different Cambridge locations and across the county. It also provides one-to-one support, a summer residential and youth leadership programme. In addition to this, The Kite Trust offers training for schools, the public sector and businesses across the county.
This work is expensive and The Kite Trust, like any small charity, is competing for funds:
“The LGBT+ sector is desperately underfunded, only getting 0.004% of all charitable funds yet LGBT+ people make up 4% of the population. This means that as a charity we are always looking for innovative and new ways to bring in funding. Every year we see more demand for our services and every year we know we save lives – young people tell us this. The Kite Flyers really is such a simple way to make a big difference to young people, " says Lara Jaffey, Executive Director of The Kite Trust.
Kite Flyers provides an opportunity for people to help LGBT+ young people in Cambridgeshire. Under this new scheme, for a small monthly payment, Kite Flyers will ensure that The Kite Trust can continue its work.
The scheme stands apart from other similar schemes as once signed up, Kite Flyers will be offered discounts at selected cafes and shops through the county. Kite Flyers will also be invited to receptions at Cambridge Queer Valentine’s @CambridgeJunction and to exclusive events at Cambridge Pride.
Noah Furlong explains why finding The Kite at the beginning of his transition was so important:
“My initial contact with The Kite Trust has had a positive domino effect on my entire life. At the time, going to a summer camp seemed inconsequential, just something to fill the calendar. Now I can see that it was, and continues to be, life-changing for me.”
The Kite Trust’s new friendship scheme goes live on #GivingTuesday 3 December on www.thekitetrust.org.uk/kiteflyers
Image: Hannah, Terry, Noah and Douglas Furlong (on clipboard)
The Kite Trust is Cambridgeshire’s leading organisation working for LGBT+ young people. They are proud to promote the health, well-being and inclusion of LGBT+ young people across Cambridgeshire through raising awareness, providing 1-2-1 and group support and training to business, schools and the NHS.