Barnardo’s, the charity that supports vulnerable children and young people, have launched a ground-breaking scheme today to provide schools and local communities with the tools they need to reduce homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

The ‘faith toolkit’ has been developed for schools enabling them to get more support from Barnardo’s for their work helping LGBTQ children and young people who are being bullied.

The kit includes materials on all major religious beliefs, along with advice sheets and real-life personal experiences shared by the LGBTQ community.

Barnardo’s Positive Identities Service developed the toolkit in partnership with local schools, faith groups, gender and sexual orientation organisations.

Sam Monaghan, Barnardo’s UK Director of Children’s Services, said of the new initiative: “Being bullied is never acceptable and can deeply impact on a young people developing their identity.

“This resource is a tangible way to help schools and faith groups meet their duty to tackle identity-based bullying, so everyone feels respected and safe — whatever their culture, race, religion or belief.”

Manjinder Singh Sidhu, who contributed to the toolkit, said:  “What I love about the toolkit is that Barnardo’s is actually working alongside schools, going into schools and talking about faith and sexuality, which are topics generally considered taboo and risky.”

The activist says that coming out for him would have been much easier if the topic had not been so taboo in schools.

He said: “Growing up I would have loved it if being LGBT was discussed in school… I would have also liked it if my community, including the Gurdwara, talked about such matters openly without shame.

“The different ways Barnardo’s is tackling the issue head on in classroom and online settings is profound. Knowing that it will inspire, educate and save the lives of countless LGBT young people going through so much hardship in schools brings joy to my heart.”

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