Save our Teach Solais (#SOTS): Help keep our doors open!
We are a Galway-based LGBT + registered charity, with a volunteer board, which is responsible for the running of Teach Solais LGBT+ resource centre in Galway city. We have created a vibrant health and wellbeing hub, with a variety of activities that are run from Teach Solais. Some of these include:
· LGBT Helpline- Galway branch of the National Helpline and mental health talks/panel discussions · Peer support groups, for example-GOSSIP (Transgender support group) · Free HIV testing by AIDS West · Drop-in sessions every Saturday · Specific group sessions including a Queer woman’s group and Irish speaking group. · Social & Wellbeing events: Meditation sessions, Yoga classes, Book club, Wellness sessions, Self-defence sessions, aerobics sessions, photography, Arts &Crafts, Creative writing & Storytelling courses, Intergenerational art sessions, Sporting activities, including a running club and Teach Solais soccer team. · Recent Healthy Galway funding has allowed the organisation to expand the various health initiatives run in Teach Solais to engage the community to improve the mental and physical health of the LGBT+ community. However this funding stream is unfortunately for a defined period, soon to come to an end · Cultural competency and social inclusion training for professional service providers working with members of the LGBT+ community We are fully reliant on funding applications, donations and fundraisers and are dependent on a volunteer board and community volunteers in order to keep this valuable service open for the LGBT+ community. In comparison, other LGBT+ resource centres in Ireland, most notably, Dundalk, Dublin(x2), Cork City (x2) receive ongoing funding for core staff, overheads and other operating costs. No funded service is available outside of these locations.
Following advice from local representatives, we applied for similar stable core funding through the HSE over the past three years. Two of our applications were unsuccessful;
the third did not meet our funding needs. The most recent application to cover a full- time resource centre manager, an outreach worker for the county and running costs of the centre was unsuccessful; though we were awarded €5,000. We appreciate that the HSE is under pressure to fund many worthy health and wellbeing services, but this is truly a disappointment for our group that caters for an under-resourced minority group in the west of Ireland.
In light of this, we are unfortunately running out of options: based on their forecasted income and expenditure Teach Solais will be forced to close its doors in November 2019. Teach Solais has become an essential part of the LGBT+ and wider community of Galway and its loss will negatively impact the lives of members of our community and their families. Any help to save our centre is much appreciated!