Taking pride in our mental health

Back right, Phill Dexter (Oban Pride chairman) and Anna Gregory (Oban Pride secretary). Foreground, Lorraine King, back left, Connor Nichol ((MMC facilitators).

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Oban Pride has teamed up with Martyn’s Monday Club to give members of the LGBTQ+ communities a safe space to talk about the challenges they face.

Friends of Dorothy Club launches on Thursday March 4, and will take place at at MMC HQ on the first Thursday of every month thereafter.

Speaking about the new initiative Oban Pride chairman Phill Dexter said: ‘We are very excited to be starting this new club and are so grateful to Martyn’s Monday Club for supporting us.

‘Our Friends of Dorothy Club is for any LGBTQ+ people that feel they need to talk – it is an open club for all to attend.

‘Throughout the last year, when we have all been facing challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, many people have been facing mental health issues as well as isolation and loneliness. That is why Oban Pride has decided, with the support of MMC, to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ people from Oban and surrounding areas to come together and be able to see a friendly face, talk and share their experiences.’

Because they are a peer support group, Friends of Dorothy are able to meet under strict conditions during the current restrictions.

Des MacMillan, Martyn’s Monday Club co-ordinator, said: ‘Martyn’s Monday Club are delighted to be in a position to support Oban pride and the LGBTQ+ community.

‘We are here to provide support for all and that is exactly what we will do, we want to help Oban Pride raise awareness in our community to help educate and breakdown the stigmas that are associated to mental health in general.

‘Peer to peer support is such a powerful tool and amazing things come from conversation.

‘We want everyone that comes to our groups to leave with improved mental wellbeing,
as well as becoming a valuable example to others.

‘Our mantra is together we can do this. And by working together and creating new partnerships I do not doubt that we really can do this and that is provide support for all in the community and challenge stigmas.’

Throughout LGBTQ+ History month in February Oban Pride delivered a virtual programme through daily posts and weekly livestreams and articles culminating in a virtual Purple Party last Friday night.

‘We would like to take this opportunity as we move into a new month to thank everybody who has been involved with our History Month programme,’ added Phill.

‘Due to ongoing restrictions we won’t be able to deliver our main Oban Pride event in the way we truly want to in 2021 but we are currently planning some form of event for later in the year.

‘Oban Pride have some brilliant partnerships with different organisations throughout
Oban and surrounding areas, including Oban FM, Oban Phoenix Cinema and The Oban Times, who we look forward to working with in the future to bring more LGBTQ+ positive representation to the community.’

For more information on Oban Pride events and how to get involved go to www.obanpride.com or visit the Oban Pride Facebook page.