COVID-19 update

Support U is currently monitoring CoronaVirus, COVID19 in line with official advice. During this time, we ask that our clients do not attend Support U for their appointments if you feel you may have the symptoms outlined by the NHS England.  

We have vulnerable people that attend our service and cross contamination is a concern. We want to continue to offer our service, so that the clients we see can still have their regular contact with someone in person. Many of our clients are isolated and lonely due to their Gender and Sexuality identity, we are their only contact in the week.  If you have an appointment and feel you need to cancel because you ‘may’ have the virus, we can offer a video or telephone call in it’s place*. Our groups continue to be cancelled for the current month. 

Thanks and best wishes, Support U Management  

Link to NHS
Link to Government guidelines.

*We can not offer video or phonecalls if you are in counselling

EDIT: Mar31. Our counsellors are now able to offer you video or phone call counselling. Please request this with your assigned counsellor.

Request for information on Transphobic Hate Crimes

We have been asked to post a survey from Thames Valley Police. They would like to to know if you have been a victim of a transphobic incident. You don’t need to of reported it, just let them know why. Below is 2 links, one for if you reported it and one for if you didn’t. It is anonymous. We feel the more we can help authorities to understand the more chance we have in making change.

Please follow this link to one of these questionnaires:
Reporter of a Transphobic Incident in 2018 or 2019
Non-Reporter of a Transphobic Incident in 2018 or 2019

This survey will take about 10 minutes to fill in.
The closing date for the survey is 29th February 2020.

Dear participant

Thank you for agreeing to take part in my study into TVP’s relationship with our Trans Community. You have been asked to be a participant in this study because:
·         You are a member of the Trans Community who is aged 16 or older;
·         In 2018 or 2019 you were the victim of a Transphobic incident or crime;
·         You either reported it to Thames Valley Police (TVP) or you did not report it;
·         You live in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire or Oxfordshire.

I do not have access to your contact details because these are confidential, and I therefore asked My Umbrella and Support U to forward this email on to those who they believe would be appropriate to participate.

It doesn’t matter if you reported the transphobic incident to the police or not – I am interested in your views either way, but please make sure you select the appropriate version of the questionnaire below (REPORTER or NON-REPORTER).

I am undertaking this study with Teesside University, who approved my study in summer 2019. The research is important because it can underpin a list of further recommendations based on my findings rather than simply sitting on a shelf gathering dust, in a time when our population is becoming more visibly transgendered, gender fluid and non-binary.

In responding to my questionnaire, you are consenting to participate and agreeing that:

  1. You have read and understood the below Participant Information;
  2. You have received enough information about what your role as a participant involves;
  3. You understand that your decision to consent is entirely voluntary and that you are free to withdraw from the study before 01/03/2020 without having to give a reason; you know that this will not affect you in the future;   
  4. You understand that the individual information that you give will only be held by the Researcher and that you will have anonymity in this study. You understand that the settings on the survey website have been set to Anonymous Responses;
  5. You understand that you do not have to provide your name, but if you use a pseudonym or alias you should be able to recall it from memory, in the event that you wish for your responses to be removed from the data set after submission.

Please follow this link to one of these questionnaires:
Reporter of a Transphobic Incident in 2018 or 2019
Non-Reporter of a Transphobic Incident in 2018 or 2019
The closing date for the survey is 29th February 2020.


Study Title
Understanding the Relationship between Thames Valley Police and our ‘Trans’ Community: Making a Meaningful Difference to the Quality of Life, Perceptions and Confidence Levels of our Trans Population by Learning From and Improving our Contact with Trans Victims in order to Improve Under-Reporting.

I would like to invite you to take part in my research study. I would like you to understand why the research is being done and what it would involve for you. Talk to others about the study if you wish. Please ask if there is anything that is not clear. If you still have questions relating to this study I am available either in person, by mobile phone or via email (details in email footer).

What would taking part involve?
The purpose of this study is to capture experiences from both our Trans Communities in the Thames Valley, and the officers at Thames Valley Police who have come into contact with those community members when dealing with crimes and incidents. I want to explore what the challenges are, why TVP may receive complaints from our Trans population and why there could still under-reporting of crimes despite TVP’s increased awareness around the sensitivities in serving members of our Trans community. Ultimately once I gain a better understanding of this, I will take the recommendations I draw from your responses to the University of Teesside, the College of Policing and Chief Constable’s Senior Management Team at Thames Valley Police, so that any changes that are identified as needing to take place can be carefully considered and implemented where agreed in the future.

You will be contributing to this study by reporting, anonymously, your previous experiences and views of the Police – Trans Community contact, in the form of a questionnaire, and it should take no longer than 15-20 minutes of your time. The responses will then be collected and analysed before a report and subsequent recommendations are completed. The findings of the report will be shared with you and the groups you represent.

Do I have to take part?
It is your choice whether you agree to participate in my study. Once you have read this information your consent will be taken from participation in responding to the questionnaire.

What will happen if I don’t want to carry on with the study?
You are free to withdraw from the study at any time up until the data set is analysed in March 2020. During analysis any changes to the data sets will affect my findings, particularly where specifics are referred to or where numerical data is produced. So you can complete the questionnaire then change your mind about it being included in the study afterwards, but only up to 01/03/20. If you withdraw from participation, all the data and information relating to your contribution will be destroyed, once identified with your personally selected name.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?
The benefit of conducting this study is to produce research and recommendations to add to the practices already in place. We know that both the police and Trans communities will benefit from improvements we can make between these two groups, and it is hoped that as a result, we will see an increase in reporting of hate crimes from our Trans communities, because of increased confidence in the police.

What are the potential disadvantages and risks of taking part in this study?
The topic is a sensitive issue and it could involve frank and difficult disclosures being made. Every participant will be offered support or further contact in order to reduce the risk and adverse impact of the study:
·         If you have not previously reported this incident or crime and now wish to do so, please dial 101 or follow this link to the Support U web based reporting page.
·         My Umbrella and Support U can either support you directly or signpost you to agencies that offer support and counselling:

Support U Helpline Details

Support U Counselling

My Umbrella Contact Page

My Umbrella Community Contacts Page   

If you feel you’re in danger or need immediate police assistance, always call 999

What if there is a problem?What if there is a problem?
Any complaint about the way you have been dealt with during the study or any possible harm you might suffer will be addressed. If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, you should ask to speak to Helen Pepper at the University of Teesside who will do her best to answer your questions.

How will my information be kept confidential?
I will follow ethical and legal practices and all information about you which is collected about you during the course of the research will be kept strictly confidential and anonymised. Your data will not be shared with other agencies unless you specifically state that you would like it passed on. You will be asked to use a code word / name of your choice (you can use your real name if you choose) on your questionnaire so you can have your response identified and removed from the sample only if you decide you no longer wish to participate, or if you would like further support as a result of the questionnaire you will be required to provide contact details.

What will happen to the results of this study?
The results of this study will be shared with all participants, the University of Teesside, Thames Valley Police, The College of Policing and any other individual or organisation deemed appropriate and based on its findings. No individual participant’s data will be shared except for these exemptions:
1.    Where there is evidence that the participant may harm themselves or another, including the risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults;
2.    Where the participant discloses involvement in illegal activities or terrorism offences;
3.    Where the participant discloses that a gross breach of police professional conduct may have taken place, of such a level that the researcher is obliged through the up keeping of their own professional standards to address this within the appropriate professional framework.

Who has reviewed the study?

Teesside University School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law Research Ethics Committee have reviewed the study.

Contact for Further Information
Researcher: Inspector 762 Gayle Moon [email protected] 07989 131106
Supervisor: Helen Pepper [email protected] 01642 342358

Personal data including special category data obtained for the purposes of this research project is processed lawfully in the necessary performance of scientific or historical research or for statistical purposes carried out in the public interest. Processing of personal data including special category data is proportionate to the aims pursued, respects the essence of data protection and provides suitable and specific measures to safeguard the rights and interests of the data subject in full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Many thanks once again
Gayle Moon | Inspector 762 | T4 Reading LPA
Telephone 101

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St Mary’s Church, Reading

Support U has been working with St Mary’s Church for a couple of years. In that time we have got to know each other quite well.

We can see your eyes rolling right now: why would we would we even bother? For anyone who is LGBT+, the feelings of horror in that anyone who identifies as LGBT+ would want to enter any religious environment/establishment. We could burst into flames for just walking near a church, let alone go in and pray.

For Support U, it’s about change, and supporting people and organisations alike. To help them with the change and create an environment that is inclusive. Our CEO, Lorna, has been supporting the church in engaging with the LGBT+ community with the added support of Reading Pride and My Umbrella.

For Lorna there has been a shift this week from feeling embarrassment and shame for wanting to enter the church and also that she could be letting the LGBT+ community down by engaging with them. Let’s be honest, the church isn’t the most welcoming place to be when you’re trying to access compassion and understanding as an LGBT+ person.

Luckily, Lorna isn’t shy when it comes to engaging with those who have been known to persecute our community. She wants the engagement so that we break down the barriers and try and understand each other. She is hoping that, over time, it will break down the barriers of hate towards us and start a conversation and a real understanding of their own religion. Which should always be about supporting their fellow human and letting them be their whole self. Love people for who they are not what you would want them to be.

So it came as a surprise for Lorna when, for the first time in many years, it didn’t cross her mind that she was entering a place that may not want her there and that God may be displeased with her. As LGBT+ people we feel that nearly all of the time, wherever we go. This is testament to St Mary’s Church and how it has chipped away at Lorna’s past experiences and feelings towards entering a church.

If you are religious and wish you could go back, we recommend St Mary’s Church as a starting point. On the Tuesday 25th Feb at 7pm, there is a dedicated LGBT+ service, where the LGBT+ community has had an input in the service.

Don’t be alone at Christmas

Christmas for LGBT+ People can be a lonely and sad time for us. But you don’t have to be alone, check out the link from RVA where you can meet other people during December.

There’s lots happening around town during December, so if you know anyone who could do with some company or a free Christmas Day meal, or who may need to know where their nearest open chemist is, please pass this information onto them: