Picture of CEO SAYiT

Steve Slack, CEO at SAYiT

It’s hard to believe that over a year has passed since I was appointed as the CEO of SAYiT. So much has happened – and I’m not even talking about Brexit or the election of Donald Trump! In November 2016 the charity successfully hosted its first national conference on supporting young transgender people. In February this year we jointly organised LGBT+ History month, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality and made a poignant intergenerational film to mark the occasion. We have worked closely over the past year with South Yorkshire Police on Hate Crime and collaborated with the City Council on its work with young people and a suicide care pathway. This is to name but a few of the many activities we have been involved in. Meanwhile our core business has continued to the provision of direct support for young LGBT+ people – as well as striving to create an environment where they can grow, thrive and live fulfilling, healthy, proud and productive lives.

Leo Tolstoy wrote that Spring was ‘the time of plans and projects’ and as we all enjoy this warm spring sunshine SAYiT has a number of new plans and projects in mind for the next twelve months which I would like to share with you.

Given that the government has finally recognised the importance of Sex Education being a compulsory part of the school curriculum, we are determined that the sex education delivered in our schools  is sex-positive and  inclusive and does not shy away from issues which relate to LGBT+ young people and their relationships and sexual health needs. We have already organised a city wide sex education forum to support teachers and share good practice as well as continuing to deliver more LGBT+ and sexual health training programmes. Over the next few months we will be further extending our training programme – offering specialised training based on our unique experiences of working directly with young LGBT+ people.

Other exciting initiatives include our plans to recruit more volunteers, encourage people to sign up as friends of SAYiT who will support our mission in the city as well as identifying local mentors to act as role models to our young people. We also plan to focus on the development of young peer educators and young leaders who can take an active role in influencing policy and decision makers in the city – as well as coaching the young people themselves into being more confident, assertive and better prepared for life.

It is a huge privilege to be a part of an organisation like SAYiT which has built up such a trusted reputation in the city for almost two decades. We recognise that as a charity we need to constantly change, develop and grow to meet ever changing needs in the city as well as nationally and even globally. However, fundamental to our work is the belief in the rights of all young people, and more specifically the rights of young LGBT+ people, to live happy and meaningful lives. We can’t ignore that young LGBT+ people still experience discrimination, prejudice and bullying, or that often their needs are still overlooked, but as a charity we want to begin to focus on their strengths and their resilience and the unique qualities they bring to their communities. So rather than our young LGBT+ people being seen as ‘the bullied’ or as victims we want to nurture survivors, future leaders and influencers. We have much to do and as a charity we are up for the challenge!

Enjoy the warm spring weather and the best of luck with your own plans and projects.

Steve Slack

If you would like more information on the training we deliver or you would like to contact us about bespoke training packages or support and consultancy then do not hesitate to call us on:

Tel: 0114 241 2728 or email: info@sayouthtrust.org.uk