A telephone helpline service for the LGBT community in the East Sussex town of Hastings will mark 25 years in operation later this month at its AGM.

Hastings and Rother Gay Helpline was formed in 1987 by the 1066 Gay Community Organisation.

At the time it was known as Hastings Befrienders.

Earlier this summer, the helpline’s secretary and founder member, Roger Sweetman, spoke to the Hastings & St Leonards Observer about the service and said:

“On average we take 150 to 200 calls a year and our main role is to provide empathy and a listening ear for people”.

“We do not make judgment on anyone, instead providing them with information and sign-posting them to other services that can help them.

“The aim of the helpline is to make LGBT people feel less isolated and organise social gatherings for them where they can make new friends.”

Mr Sweetman added: “Funding for the service has always been difficult to obtain, never more so than it is today, and donations are always welcome”.

Victims of homophobic hate incidents can contact the service in confidence.

The helpline – which operates live every Wednesday between 7pm – 9pm – is planning to mark its 25th year at its AGM, which is due to take place at the Stade Hall in Hastings on September 28.