OUR HISTORY

It was in 2010 founders Andrew and Lorna had identified the need for a community organisation to help assist the public in accessing LGBTQ+ services across Reading and the Thames Valley, it was then that Support U was born.

Look below to read more about our history and our amazing (and sometimes stressful) journey...

10th Anniversary

It's our 10th Anniversary!

The day Support U was born.

July 18th 2021
June 2021

The service evolves

Frontline support is no longer volunteer lead offering paid staff and develop dedicated staff members.

Funding to develop QPOC inclusion

Awarded funding with Peoples Health Trust to develop QPOC inclusion for the LGBT+ Community.

June 2021
June 2021

Funding for ISVA & ISDA support

ISVA and ISDA funding from the PCC to deliver Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse support to the LGBT+ Community.

Launch of Sofa Talks

Sofa Talks with Support U. With invited guests talking about anything LGBT+ related through Facebook and partnered with F.O.D.

May 2021
May 2021

Launch of Broken Futures

Broken Futures project is complete with archives and updated walk.

Domestic Abuse Campaign

With Shelley King from Coronation Street. We discuss  Domestic abuse with the LGBT+ community.

January 2021
December 2020

Reading FC Donation

Reading FC donate their Rainbow match day shirts for auction, raising £3737. 

MOJ Funding

Awarded funding from the MOJ to support the LGBT+ Community after the Forbury Attacks.

July 2020
February 2020

COVID 19

COVID19 brings our service to 100% online. Creating the groups, 1to1 and counselling as a virtual, phone call or online chat to clients.

Queer Walk in Reading

Launch of our Queer Walk around Reading using the App GeoTourist

February 2020
November 2019

AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile account opened to allow free donations to Support U, while you shop

1st Conference Held

Our first conference - How to create your LGBT+ Employees & Allies Programme – Partnering with 3M, Procter and Gamble, Royal Mail, Thames Water and Reading University

November 2019
October 2019

Partnered with Berks and Bucks FA

Official partnership with Berks and Bucks FA to support local football to be inclusive

Further LGBT heritage research

Support U is awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to research prosecutions of Same-Sex Desire in Victorian England.

October 2019
September 2019

Partnership with Reading FC

Support U and Reading FC combine forces to bring LGBT+ Inclusion into football

Public support

Public shout out for support, raising £12k to help continue our service

June 2019
January 2019

Family Network Relaunch

The Family Network - a group established for Parents of LGBTQ+ Kids Group is founded and meets monthly.

Gay 2 Grey Launch

Gay 2 Grey is a monthly meet up for gay people over the age of 50+.

31 December 2018
September 2018

NHS and LGBT+

The 'Health Watch Reading' Report comes out in partnership with Support U. Advising the NHS on LGBTQ+ experiences within the NHS.

Business Partnership with Zendesk

Business Partnership with Zendesk giving us the ability to integrate our services all in 1 place and establish a live chat feature for clients.

August 2018
July 2018

Living the Wolfenden Legacy

Living the Wolfenden Legacy is completed by the Heritage team and is available as an educational resource for schools... 'The Wolfenden Report'.

Counselling Supervisor

Talking Therapies (NHS) sponsored a Lead Supervisor to join the team who oversees the service and support provided to further develop our free counselling service

February 2018
June 2017

Reading's LGBT History Month

Support U collaborated to help create Reading's LGBT History Month and secure it is an important date in the calendar locally.

Making history...again!

With the success of our first Hidden Voices heritage project, the charity was successful in attaining funding from the Heritage Lottery to discover the links between the University of Reading and 'The Wolfenden Project'.

June 2017
August 2016

BBC Children in Need Funding

Support U was successful in being awarded funding by Children in Need for 3 years for our LGBTQ schools programme to which provides outreach support.

3 more years of Youth Group!

The charity was awarded Big Lottery funding to launch our long-term LGBTQ youth group. This group still sees many of its original members attend frequently to socialise, and munch biscuits!

July 2016
April 2016

LGBTQ+ Health

SU sponsored the Reading Vitality Half Marathon to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ health.

Come As You Are!

With the growing needs of clients, the Charity established the CD/TV group for crossdressers to provide a safe space to discuss with others.

March 2016
February 2016

LGBT+ Parents

We launched the LGBTQ+ Family Network Group aimed at supporting parents of LGBT+ children!

5000 Queries!

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!

December 2015
September 2015

Onboard for Diversity

For the first time, LGBTQ+ marketing was displayed on Reading Buses through our exclusive Onboard with Diversity campaign.

Youth Group Pilot

We launched a pilot youth group to understand better the needs of young persons in our area for LGBTQ+ services in association with NCS.

August 2015
July 2015

1st Corporate Partnership

Selected as Sainsbury's charity of the year and raised over £2,500 through collaborative fundraising efforts!

Not bi yourself!

Launched our very first Bisexual support group called Bi:scuit! Offering a safe space to meet and network with other Bisexual people.

May 2015
April 2015

Stonewall accreditation

Became the Stonewall Training partner for school teacher training for the South West region.

#UseLessHate

Launched our powerful, strong and hard-hitting marketing campaign, #UseLessHate. Which raises awareness on reporting Hate Crime. 

April 2015
September 2014

Moving on up!

Moved into our new centre at 15 Castle Street with over 3000sq ft of dedicated LGBT+ space. As part of the move, we removed all of our paper and switched to completely electronic data storage - what a task!

The rest is history...

Received Heritage Lottery Funding to deliver our very first history project entitled "Hidden Voices"

June 2014
November 2013

All weekender!

Our first weekend fundraiser raises us over £1,000 to help keep the service on-going.

Who says? Su Says!

Launch of our first campaign, SU Says, to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ identities and challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic behaviour.

August 2013
December 2012

1000th Query

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.

Our first fundraiser

Our very first fundraiser supported by local organisation 3Munkees raises £500 to help us to continue into 2013.

November 2012
July 2012

Starting Families

Launch of our Chicken and Egg group, for those looking to start a family.

Trans Group Launch

Reading’s first Trans* group launches in our space at South Street Arts Centre. With only 3-5 people in attendance each week, led by our first Trans Ambassador Didi Brown.

June 2012
June 2012

Open for business

And we are off! The charity opens its doors to the public to begin delivery of basic support signposting for the LGBTQ+ community. First-year target… support 100 people. Little did we know this target would quickly be surpassed.

Unanimous Support

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 LGBTQ+ inclusive environment in the town.

After very little debate, the service receives unanimous support backed with a vote for financial support from all parties.

March 2012
January 2012

And so it begins

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.

Support U is born!

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!

July 2011
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