Other ethos is to ensure that all of our provisions are developed with input from our members and service users and so we truly value feedback to help us continue to shape Free2B.
I am the mother of an 11 year old transgender boy who has lived (for most purposes) as a male since toddlerhood but transitioned at his all-girls school only last September. Nicki has provided invaluable support and advice to my son and to me over the past year or so. We both love Nicki and trust her implicitly. My son in particular really opens up to her and seems actually to listen to her gentle suggestions! She is highly professional, exceptionally well-informed and trained, and thoroughly in touch with the needs and concerns of LGBTQ+ young people and the community in general. More importantly, she is a warm, genuine, respectful, intelligent and intuitive person, who has transformed the lives of many LGBTQ+ young people who come to her, often in circumstances where there is nowhere else to turn. She is like a surrogate parent, street-smart older sibling and wise community leader combined!
When my daughter was 13 she started seriously questioning her sexuality. I struggled to find an LGBT group to support her until I came across the Gap and, in particular, Nicki. My daughter was made to feel welcome and noticeably blossomed in confidence from her first few weekly sessions at the Gap. Led by Nicki she was provided with the right balance of education and chill out time, camaraderie and sensitive support to enable her to develop a clearer feeling of her own identity and how she presents that to the world. As a heterosexual mother I can be supportive of my daughter in very many ways including her sexuality but what I can never be is a positive lesbian role model. Nicki has helped fulfil that role for our daughter and in my opinion so many other youngsters attending. My husband and I can’t thank her enough.
There were so many things about LGBTQ that I didn’t understand – even what LGBTQ stands for. I have to admit to living in the dark ages. Free2B didn’t laugh at my questions and explained the gender and sexuality terminology to me in a way that I actually get. Now when my daughter talks to me about sexuality, I don’t have that gormless expression on my face. Free2B is a service I would recommend to parents and young people to find out information and to talk to. You really are Free2B however you want
The GAP allows me to volunteer near home, making a difference and direct impact to my local community. This youth club creates a safe space for young GLBT people that did not exist when I was young. I am proud to be part of it.
I volunteer at Gap because I believe it is still so important for the members to have a space to be themselves, explore their sexuality and gender without fear of judgement. It is great to see how well the group gets along, how supportive they are of each other and the benefits to them of having a safe space and the support. It is just an enjoyable couple of hours on a Friday which I find really rewarding.
For me, the Gap provides a space for young people which offers an open, relaxed, and, perhaps most importantly, safe environment for them to socialise and discover their identity in the midst of their adolescence. It’s an honour to be a part of that, to help provide and protect this space, but also to interact with the young people and, when they need or want it, be a positive role model and adult figure in their lives. It’s also immense fun – I wish I’d had such a space when I was young.
I’m very happy that I volunteer at The Gap. As well as feeling like I’m doing something to directly support our community, I think The Gap is an invaluable service to the young people who attend. It’s a really supportive group, with everyone looking out for each other’s needs.
I’m glad that I can help support a service that would have been so beneficial to me had it been available when I was a teenager.
The future of our community is in the choices and lives of our youth. I’m really proud to be part of this group which enables people to explore themselves in a truly comfortable and supportive environment.
Often, as a young person, I feel powerless and like my voice doesn’t get heard. Working with other queer young people and making a difference had made me start referring to myself as an activist: a quality I thought I’d only ever aspire to.
Rainbow Power Rep
I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to help direct & administer Free2B’s services….I will always treasure the experience of being able to give something back…
Rainbow Power Rep
I have been able to contribute to a better Gap experience…
Rainbow Power Rep
I did not expect to still be alive at this age, but because of all the care and support I have received from The Gap, and the sheer happiness I gain from being there, I am on track to start at a top 10 university in September which will steer me in the direction of my dream career…
I used to go to the Gap a few years ago and I just wanted to say thank you to you and the other workers at the youth club for making it such a warm and welcoming place. Although I haven’t attended lately it’s something I hold close to me and know I really needed at the time. Thank you for giving me something that school and home couldn’t provide for me.
I’ve been going to the Gap since I was 13. Nicki has helped me through so much. She has helped me come to terms with who I am. She’s always there to talk, she’s helped me through being in love, my first heartbreak. I feel like I can talk to her about anything, she has become like a second mum to me.
I just wanted to thank the team at Free2b Alliance. You have given us the right support and advice at just the right time. Not having experienced it before it has sometimes been hard to negotiate our way through developing the right approach for a child who is transitioning; your straightforward, sensitive, caring and informative advice has been a life-line. Thank you!
Jonathan Whitfield, Headteacher, Woodingdean Primary School
Wonderful, wonderful training. We all found it really interesting and useful for our roles. There’s an awful lot I didn’t know about the pressures LGBTQ young people face so it was really helpful to think about what children might be going through, even in primary school, and how my role as a teacher can help support them through that. Thank you so much.
Southmead Primary School
Very effective and educational – learning how to support pupils that come out & how to avoid gendered language & stereotypes was particularly useful
Raynes Park School
Very good training, would of enjoyed the full day session! Practical suggestions were very useful. Thank you!
Priory Lodge School
Absolutely great. Really informative and knowledgeable trainers. Learnt lots of things that I wouldn’t have normally thought about. Very accessible / non-judgemental environment.
Great! Made me question what I thought I knew! Loved that it came from young people and their experiences – makes it real! Loved the activities, fun, powerful & thought provoking.
Informative & inclusive – thought provoking & inspiring. Great to have the 2 young people to speak directly from their own experiences. Thanks!
Wonderful interactive and engaging training. Very useful, thank you.
Well planned training for raising LGBTQ+ issues.
Many thanks for yesterday …I thought the session was really good, useful, I learnt a lot and, just as importantly, have taken away thoughts and shifts in thinking which will continue to develop.
Head of Wandsworth Youth Service
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