In 2017 Outwest will celebrate being in existence twenty years.
Outwest has been a support since 1997 by organising social events for the rural and isolated members of the LGBT+ community. Covering the west of Ireland Outwest has been a much needed and well used organisation that continues and endeavours to offer a safe space for the LGBT+ community, its family, friends and allies. Offering a confidential helpline to those in crisis the organisation recruited volunteers to listen and support people and offer a befriending service to this who struggled to meet like-minded people. Operating on a Thursday night from 8pm to 10pm the service grew from strength to strength and in 2010 they joined forces with five other helplines to offer a seven day service and become part of the National LGBT Helpline. Currently the helpline answers over 3800 calls a year and with it’s online chat support network it sees the website get over 80’000 hits. Outwest continues to volunteer on the helpline, offer the befriending service and organise events throughout the year, many of them free!
To celebrate offering support and events for twenty years Outwest are joining together with the community, local organisations and the public to develop and produce the first Mayo LGBT+ Pride celebrations and they’d like YOUR input!
A public meeting is planned for the 14th December at 9pm in the Humbert Room at the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar. Some committee members of the hugely successful 2016 Galway Pride have offered to come on board and help organise the event as well as renowned choreographer and local celebrity Jay Molyneux. “This is a huge opportunity for the LGBT+ community and it’s allies to celebrate and show what Mayo has to offer,” said Cathy Blake, the current chairperson of the main Outwest Committee.
“Many people have already offered support,” said Martin Hughes, Outwest secretary, “and we’ve already got ideas of fundraisers and the main event but it’d be great if more people could get involved and especially if the LGBT+ community would tell us what they want. It’s their Pride after all.”
If any groups would like to take part they’re encouraged to contact Outwest at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 087 972 5586 and attend the meeting on the 14th.