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Birmingham_LGBT_CentreThis week Birmingham LGBT held the official launch event for England and Wales’ first Health and Wellbeing centre in Birmingham’s Southside district, which will serve the needs of the city’s local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The launch event, held at the centre on Holloway Circus on Wednesday 23 January, saw specially invited guests from across Birmingham and beyond come together to celebrate the opening of the pioneering centre. Officially opening its doors to the public on Tuesday 29 January, the new centre will address the health inequalities suffered by the LGBT community.

The evening included speeches from the chair of Birmingham LGBT Matt Daniels, as well as funders John Taylor, Head of Big Lottery West Midlands region and Peter Hay, CBE Director of adults and communities Birmingham city council.

Celebrations saw a poem reading followed by a ceremonial rainbow flag ribbon cutting, a long standing tradition in cultures around the world that serves as a sign of diversity and inclusiveness, of hope and of yearning. The use of the rainbow flag by the gay community began in 1978 when it first appeared in the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Each colour denotes a different emotion and feeling, including healing in orange and calmness and nature in green.

Attendees were also taken on a guided tour around the centre, which includes a cafe, a clinical and consulting space, a multi-functional counselling and support room, a dedicated counselling space and offices for Birmingham LGBT and a training room to host LGBT community activities.

The opening of the Health and Wellbeing centre will aim to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ to the LGBT community, working closely with other service providers to target issues such as high rates of smoking and drinking, self-harm, depression and attempted suicide.

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