Early 2009 workers in the region expressed that there was a gap in available information when working with lesbians, bisexual women around sexual health.
A cursory check of online resources and existing literature seemed to confirm this. In fact, of the limited existing leaflets which were found, it was clear that the information was geographically orientated (and not relevant to the North East), wasn’t suitable for a broad age range of women or only contained a superficial overview of the issues relevant information for L/BI women.
A national survey carried out by Stonewall ‘Prescription For Change (2008)’ showed that many women did feel they needed more information regarding sexual health. It was with that in mind that we started the development of what would eventually become this website, as well as a booklet containing some of the information on this site.
We aimed to produce a resource that was local and relevant with content identified and chosen by L/Bi women and to address the gap in access to sexual health information for this group of women and thereby in the long term contribute to the improvement of sexual health for L/Bi women.
We undertook consultations with women from the entire region. We asked them about what information they would like to receive in the resource, about what format they think the resource should be and where the information should be available from. After that we also did workshops that furthermore looked into the tone of resource, images and layout.
During Newcastle Pride 2009 and Supergay Weekend 2009 we consulted 167 women by questionnaires.
We did a further 8 in depth workshops. These were set up through the LGBT Health Summit 2009, Centre for HIV Sheffield, Trinity Youth Project Northumberland, Deaflink’s LGBT group, Durham University, Teesside focus group, Tyneside Young Lesbians Project and North East Older Lesbian Network.
During the last months of 2009 the working group contact sexual health leads from the PCT’s in the region and was able to obtain funding for this resource from the Strategic Health Authority, North of Tyne PCT, County Durham and Darlington and NHS South of Tyne.
What happened then?
We then invited different designers from the area to make a sample design to match our brief and finally selected Mike Thornton from ThinkRoomTen as our design partner in this development. We have worked very closely with him over an intensive period of 6 months and his design inputs and support has been invaluable.
We also got Milly Shaw from Lesbilicious involved to edit our content and we think she did a fab job.
The final result is what you are sitting with in front of you – as well as a 44 page booklet to be distributed all over the region.
We hope it is everything to you that we aim it to be – and if it isn't please email us and tell us.
The working group consisted of:
- Nikki Jeffrey and Tin Ward, Health Advisors Newcastle GUM, New Croft House
- Sian Broadhurst, Community Development Worker, Newcastle City Council
- Debbie Walker, LGBT Youth Development Worker Trinity Youth
- Billijean Summerbell, LGBT worker DISC
- Dawn Gascoigne, Outpost
- Janet Owen, Regional LGBT Worker MESMAC
- Harriet Yudkin, Health Improvement Specialist, NHS Newcastle and North of Tyne Community Health
- Heidi Hansen, SHINE
Jill Hardie, Lifeline helped to set up the working group