Opening Doors London, the charity for older LGBT people, is seeking donations and volunteers.
The service, run by Age UK, offers information, help, ‘befrienders’ and social activities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people over the age of 50.
It is estimated that there are 100,000 older LGBT people in the capital and Opening Doors London says many are isolated from family and friends.
Research suggests that up to 75 per cent of older lesbians‚ gay men and bisexuals live alone, compared with 33 per cent of the general older population. Ninety per cent have no children to call upon during difficult times.
The charity says many older LGBT people are still not out because of past attitudes and experiences.
Nick Maxwell, the men’s co-ordinator for the project, said: “Opening Doors London really is a lifeline for many of the hundreds of members of the project.
“For many of the service users who attend the groups or who are being befriended by our LGBT volunteers, the service is often the only real contact they have with anyone else from week to week, much less the only contact with the LGBT community.”
Opening Doors London has commissioned a short film (see below) to show how the service works, with contributions from people who use it.
Mr Maxwell continued: “We owe these men and women so much for all the rights and protections we now enjoy. What we hope to get from this video is increased awareness of the project and the needs of older LGBT people, new volunteers and of course donations to support this valuable work.”
In the short film, Wille, 74, says: “We’re elderly folk and we come from a generation where you kept quiet about it.
“It’s nice now to be meeting with people like yourself, who you don’t have to be on edge with or worry about putting your foot in it.”
Marion, 68, says: “As we get older, there’s no escaping it, we need more done for us, and so we need to be supported to make choices, by people who are informed about us and
are willing to get to know us. I think Opening Doors is terrific in that respect, as that’s exactly what it does.”
To find out more about donating or volunteering, see openingdoorslondon.org.uk