Online community support during the COVID-19 pandemic
Go to the Government’s landing page for information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and what you need to do. Stay alert. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The last year has been a challenging one for us all. Everyone suffered from a sudden drop in social gatherings, and this can be particularly hard for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Lots of Cambridgeshire groups refused to let this stop them, and have built up online communities for socialising and support. As things start to open up and we become more able to meet in person again, we will keep this list updated to let you know which remain online and which are meeting in person. There are also many national resources that are here to help, some LGBTQ+ specific, and others more wide ranging. This page brings together all these resources and will be frequently updated as we learn more. Let us know if you are running a group or resource that can help the community, and we will add it!
LGBTQ+ people are particularly vulnerable during this crisis for a variety of reasons. Your health and safety are always the most important things.
People are now less likely to ask for professional health support or to report crimes, as they want to avoid burdening our public services. If it is serious, always seek the proper help: our local Hate Crime officers are now all working remotely, and are offering victim support as always; always seek medical help for serious health (including mental health) issues; there are also many support lines out there, such as the LGBT Foundation.
How do I join online events?
Find out about all the events currently going on by visiting our calendar: http://encompassnetwork.org.uk/calendar/
Many events are being run online. To join them, we suggest that you join Meetup and get to know how to use Zoom.
Meetup is a place for anyone to organise or join events, and the Cambridge LGBTQ+ Meetup is now fillied with online events and some in person meetups. Anyone can join, you need a Meetup account, which is quick and free to make. “The purpose of this group is to create an easy-going climate, where people can make new friends and form a local community and pursue social activities together.”
Zoom is a video call platform, that allows you to chat and see people in a group. You can run it on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer, as long as you have a camera and microphone or headphones. The host of the event will share a link – follow it, and it will tell you how to download and use Zoom to join the call. https://zoom.us/
These groups have now resumed in-person meetings.
Trans and Non-Binary Coffee
A coffee group open to anyone who identifies as transgender, non-binary, intersex or questioning. We meet on the first and third Sunday of the month. The next meeting will be on Sunday 19th September 3-4pm at Stourbridge Common. More information can be found on Meetup and Encompass’ Facebook page. https://www.meetup.com/Cambridge-Gay-Group/ https://www.facebook.com/EncompassNetworkCam/
Let’s Go Climb!
Newly restarted, this climbing group is open to everyone from beginners to seasoned climbers and meets at Rainbow Rocket climbing centre every Saturday from 10.30am-12.30pm. For more information, including details about the required pre-registration, see the Meetup page. https://www.meetup.com/Cambridge-Gay-Group/
A group for LGBT people over the age of 50 looking for company and support. They meet every Tuesday from 2-4pm, usually at The Orator. They are also still having occasional online meet-ups. If you would like to join their community, ask to join the group https://www.facebook.com/groups/268729510783847/
Sing Out Cambridge is a friendly choir for the LGBT+ community, welcoming everyone regardless of experience with no auditions. They meet every Monday from 7 – 8.30pm at Downing Place United Reformed Church. Email email@example.com for more information.
A friendly and informal transgender support and social group based in Cambridge. They meet every Wednesday evening at 8pm at the Boathouse. Ask on their Facebook page for access to the secret group https://www.facebook.com/cambridgediamonds/ or contact them from their website http://www.diamondstgc.org.uk/.
A worshipping Christian community offering a warm welcome to LGBT+ people and allies. Join them on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month (5th and 19th Sept) at 7pm at Downing Place United Reformed Church. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Cambridgeshire online events
Lots of groups that run regular events are still doing things online. Here’s a list – we’ll keep adding to it.
Lesbian and Bi Women Chat
This is a friendly, safe and welcoming regular event that is supportive of diversity. We welcome: Any woman who identifies as a woman, lives as a woman, and loves women. This includes lesbian, bi, pan, queer, trans and cis and anyone who comes under the above definition. They are gradually starting to introduce in-person meetings but currently also still meet on Zoom every other Tuesday (7th and 21st Sept) – RSVP to the events on Meetup to get the meeting links https://www.meetup.com/Cambridge-Gay-Group/
LGBTIQ+ Cancer Support
Organised by Live Through This and Maggie’s. Come join us for our online LGBTIQ+ networking group. We welcome anyone LGBTIQ+ affected by cancer, including patients, partners, carers and survivors. Every first Thursday of the month (2nd Sept) at 3pm-4pm via a Zoom call. To register, visit: www.livethroughthis.co.uk
A safe place for gay and bi men age 18+ to chat, catch up with people and ‘chew the fat’ about anything and everything and get information and support from both Dhiverse and other people in the group. They meet via Zoom on the second Thursday of the month, with the next meeting at 18.00 on Thursday 8th July. Links to the meetings will be shared on the Meetup. https://www.meetup.com/Cambridge-Gay-Group/
Queers in Shorts
Queers in Shorts usually run a monthly film night, and have been hosting short films on their Facebook page as an online alternative. Their next film night is on Sunday 12th September, 8pm. https://www.facebook.com/QinShorts/
Cambridge LGBTQ+ Book Club
They meet up once a month to discuss queer books and celebrate our heritage and history. Meetings are the last Wednesday of the month (29th Sept) from 6 – 7.30pm via Zoom. Join their Facebook group for links to the meetings. https://www.facebook.com/groups/247246225985809/ If you need help buying the books, there is a book pool set up so that you can join in without barriers: https://cambridgelgbtbookclub.com/book-pool
Cambridgeshire LGBTQ+ Writing Group
A social group for LGBTQ+ writers based in Cambridgeshire. Many people have said they’d be interested in a queer writing community, so here it is! You can use this group to meet and get to know others, organise online or in-person events, or anything else that might be good for a writing group. Prompts; weekly journal updates; writing workshops; a Nanowrimo event… Open to everyone who identifies as LGBTQ+, lives in Cambridgeshire and enjoys writing. That could be anyone from occasional journal writers to professionals; from poets to playwrights to novelists to any other kind of writers! https://www.facebook.com/groups/610711752797264/
QTI Coalition of Colour
A network for self-identified QTI (queer, trans, intersex) people of colour in Cambridge. They are hosting online community events, such as talks, cooking streams and informal chats. To join the community, follow their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/qti.coalition/
Ace-Specs, Aro-Specs and Questioning Folk of Cambridge
The community for people on the asexuality-spectrum, aromantic spectrum and those questioning their identity on these spectrums. Hosted by Cambridge Univerisity Students’ Union LGBT+ Campaign, this community is open to all. There is a groupchat, which is an informal and unofficial space for ace-spec, aro-spec and questioning folk of Cambridge to come together and chat about all sorts of topics, and the Discord server is the official space where they host weekly virtual coffee meets on Saturday afternoons. If you’d like to get involved in either, please email email@example.com with your Facebook name (for the groupchat) and/or your Discord username (for the server).
QWiC – A Queer Women and Non-Binary Community
QWiC is an inclusive social group for all LBTQ (lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer) women and non binary people. The aim of the group is to be a safe social space for those people who feel isolated and lonely in the Cambridge area. We are a horizontally organised group which means that all our events are driven by members of the community.
Throughout the lockdown crisis we are running a number of online events, mostly using zoom, for LBTQ (lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer) women and non binary people of all ages and backgrounds. To find out about these events please join our facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/716452408557293 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. with a short description about yourself and we can add you to our mailing list.
QWiC also hosts a Discord server which allows our community to socialise and share pictures and stories outside of events. Information can be found on our Facebook page or by emailing us.
The Kite Trust
They support LGBTQ+ children and young people in the county. At the moment, they are offering lots of remote support for those under 25, see their website for more details: http://thekitetrust.org.uk/ They are also running Q&A sessions with LGBTQ+ role models that are turned into podcasts; and a fortnightly support group for parents of trans, non-binary and gender-questioning young people. To keep up to date with their events, follow their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheKiteTrust/
Cambridge SU LGBT+
The Cambridge University LGBT+ campaign! They are a liberation campaign run by students within the university. They are running lots of events for Cambridge students, who are now scattered all over the globe. Visit their website for lots of resources https://www.lgbt.cusu.cam.ac.uk/, and their Facebook page for details of events. https://www.facebook.com/lgbtcusu/
Cambridge city support
There is a lot of support available in Cambridge city, from the City Council and from the wider community. As with all of these resources, they are constantly being updated, so keep checking the websites. The council’s central Coronavirus page can be found here: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/updates/2020/03/18/coronavirus-changes-to-our-services
Cambridge Coronavirus Support group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/634581034007601/
Cambridge Virtual Community Centre is a virtual community space to share positive ideas, support and inspiration, encouraging everybody in Cambridge to remain safe and resilient during the ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic: https://www.facebook.com/cambridgevcc/
Find links to support groups for specific areas within Cambridge here: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-community-groups
For students at Cambridge University, see the Cambridge SU LGBT+ welfare masterpost (includes information about online events and welfare contacts): https://www.facebook.com/lgbtcusu/posts/2545007052379280 For staff at the University, visit this page to find out about the LGBT+ Staff Network (currently running lots of online events): https://www.equality.admin.cam.ac.uk/diversity-networks/lgbt-staff-network
Citizens’ Advice: Following Government advice, Cambridge Citizens Advice closed its drop-in advice services on March 24th. Yet this has not stopped people contacting the organisation via the Adviceline 0344 848 7979 to help them cope with work worries, money problems and isolation during the coronavirus lockdown. The helpline is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Many people have questions about employment/furloughing/salaries during these times, and the Citizens Advice can help you if you can’t find the information you need on your own. Cambridge Citizens Advice can also be contacted for email advice via their website www.cambridgecab.org.uk
There is also lots of support available in the rest of Cambridgeshire, from the County Council and others.
Dhiverse are still offering their Counselling Service, free sexual health supplies and other support. Find out more and access services on their website https://www.dhiverse.org.uk/,email them at email@example.com or call on 01223 508805.
The Terrence Higgins Trust offers sexual health information support and advice throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough; they provide free chlamydia and gonorrhoea screening for young people and vulnerable adults, support people living with HIV and offer sexual health awareness sessions. They also facilitate the C-Card Scheme which offers young people aged 13 -24 access to free condoms. Find out more https://www.tht.org.uk/centres-and-services/cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire Libraries are running multiple events online every day: for children, families and adults. Find the full list and details here: https://www.facebook.com/cambslib/
Centre 33: We provide free and confidential support and information for young people up to the age of 25. We are working remotely across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough via telephone, WhatsApp, text and email. Tel: 0333 4141809 Text/WhatsApp: 07514 783745 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Find out more information on their website: http://centre33.org.uk/
Healthwatch Cambridgeshire is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services locally. They can provide free advice and information on local services and listen to your feedback about care and use it to make things better: https://www.healthwatchcambridgeshire.co.uk/advice-and-information/2021-02-22/health-and-care-lgbtq-community
CCVS are collating information from many different groups in the county on the support they are providing at this time. For their continually updating list, follow this link: https://www.cambridgecvs.org.uk/Covid19/covidservices
Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Mutual Aid Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cambsmutualaid/
Find links to the many the local county support groups here: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cambridgeshire-online-directory
Follow this link to find the County Council’s full list of Coronavirus information and resources: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-overview
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mind have increased their remote support during the lockdown. Adults in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are now able access a brand new free online mental health wellbeing service, Qwell, including a range of materials, peer-to-peer support and qualified counsellors. Lifeline, the established confidential and anonymous mental health helpline, has extended its hours of support by an extra five hours a day and is now available from 2pm – 11pm on Freephone 0808 808 2121.
If you are just across the county border, the Suffolk LGBT Network have their own website with details of the groups and opportunities in Suffolk. https://www.suffolklgbtnetwork.org.uk/
Stonewall has a detailed list of resources for LGBTQ+ people for support during the pandemic. It includes sections on homelessness, self-isolation, disability, trans-specific care, for older people, for younger people, and for asylum seekers: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/about-us/news/covid-19-%E2%80%93-how-lgbt-inclusive-organisations-can-help
QueerCare is a transfeminist autonomous care organisation, providing training, support and advocacy for trans and queer people in the UK. Follow this link to their site to see how to get care and help out: https://queercare.network/
LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Survivor’s Forum: the Forum is run by Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity, is a safe, anonymous, online space for LGBT+ people who have been affected by domestic abuse. The forum will allow users to share their experiences, support one another and receive information and support from the team at the National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline. You can access the forum here: http://www.galop.org.uk/lgbt-survivors/
LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline: open Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm, and can be reached on 020 7704 2040 or by emailing HateCrime@galop.org.uk. It is open to anyone in the UK who has experienced anti-LGBT+ violence, abuse or harassment and needs a safe space to talk. We can provide independent advice, support, and signposting to organisations that are local to you if you would like further support.
How to get coronavirus support as a clinically extremely vulnerable person: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
Find all the government’s advice and resources here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
If you have been asked to attend a health appointment virtually or by phone, the Addenbrooke’s Cancer Patient Partnership Group has collated some tips on how to make the most of your appointment: https://www.cuh.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/misc/CPPG_Tipsheet_Telephone_Video%20Appointments.pdf
Encompass Network contact details
If you have any questions about any of the events or resources on this page, or how to join online meetings and communities, please contact us and we will try our best to help. Our project officer only works part time, so please allow a few days for us to get back to you.
Call us +44 (0) 1223 608 118
Email us email@example.com
Message our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EncompassNetworkCam/
Message our Meetup account https://www.meetup.com/members/283220107/
Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/CambsLGBT
Follow us on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/encompassnetwork/