It was in 2010 founders Andrew and Lorna had identified the need for a community organisation to help assist the public in accessing LGBT+ services across Reading and the Thames Valley, it was then that Support U was born.
Look below to read more about our amazing (and sometimes stressful) journey...
The charity was awarded Big Lottery funding to launch our long-term LGBT youth group. This group still sees many of its original members attend frequently to socialise, and munch biscuits!
So, we received our 5000th query since opening, and the first time to top 3000 queries in a year. The service continues to grow and the needs of our users also. The centre is supported by over 30 dedicated volunteers!
Moved in to our new centre at 15 Castle Street with over 3000sq ft of dedicated LGBT+ space. As part of the move, we removed all our paper and become completely electronic data storage - what a task!
After just over 6 months, Support U has responded to over 1000 queries. It quickly becomes apparent that the need for the service far out-weighs our anticipated uptake and so a review of the services we deliver is conducted.
And we are off… the charity opens it doors to the public to begin delivery of basic support signposting for the LGBT+ community. First year target… support 100 people. Little did we know this target would quickly be surpassed!
The founders, Lorna and Andrew take the fight for the service to Reading Borough Council. During the full council meeting, they demonstrate the need, desire and ambition for an LGBT+ inclusive environment in the town.
After very little debate, the service receives unanimous support backed with a vote for financial support from all parties.
Armed with the drive to succeed and a few fancy business plan booklets kindly donated by the local printing company, Lorna and Andrew set out to secure charity status and funding to launch the service. Charity Status is granted in January 2012.
On this day, in an unusually tidy living room in Lorna’s apartment, Support U was born. Many months had been spent developing business plans, surveys, information gathering and above all passion to deliver help to 100 people a year!