The Sussex LGBTU Training and Development Research Partnership

Project Details


The Sussex Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Unsure (LGBTU) Training and Development Research Partnership provided the first attempt to explore and address the training needs of practitioners and/or professionals working with young people across Sussex. Funded by the Brighton and Sussex Community Knowledge Exchange (BSCKE) and the South East Coast Specialised Commissioning Group (SECSCG), this project built on earlier research by Pope and Sherriff (2008) who identified that accessible and appropriate training (and materials) was required to assist practitioners in working with all young people, and to be able to address LGBTU issues as part of their everyday work.

This was a piece of research done in Sussex to find out about:

• what it’s like for young people who are either lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure and what they wanted from services that they use – like schools, youth clubs and so on.
• what training would be useful for professionals who work with young people (e.g. youth workers, teachers) to help make them more able to offer LGBTU young people what they want and need.

The research was carried out by the University of Brighton and was supported by local organisations in the area, including Young People in Focus and Allsorts. We did it because young people who are LGBTU often feel isolated and don’t feel safe enough to use services openly. This is particularly the case in nonurban areas, outside towns like Brighton. There is also a lack of awareness about the experiences of LGBTU young people and stereotypes held about them. We wanted to understand how this can be changed, and in particular how we might develop training for professionals who work with young people.

The aims of this research were to:

• Provide an accessible report that presents a local, up to date description and analysis of practitioners experiences and training needs, together with a contemporary depiction of LGBTU young people's experiences, attitudes, and perceptions concerning staff training, skills, and service provision

• Build a sustainable network for knowledge exchange between the partners through collaborative research and partnership working

• Create sustained partnership working with community partners to develop and implement the second phase of the project to create an LGBTU programme or learning resource based on research findings

• Form direct synergies and links with the Sussex LGBTU Communities of Practice which is funded under the South East Coast Communities (SECC) programme

• Build capacity among community partners by providing an evidence base to inform service provision and provide assistance in applications for grants and other sources of funding, for example

• Ultimately promote the health and wellbeing of LGBTU young people by helping service providers to meet their needs more effectively


Brighton and Sussex Knowledge Exchange (BSCKE)

Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP)

Allsorts Youth Project

Young People in Focus

Terrence Higgins Trust

South East Coast Specialised Commissioning Group (SECSCG)

West Sussex Primary Care Trust

Key findings

An important finding from this research was that many lesbian and gay practitioners responded to the promotional material about this project and came forward for an individual interview. This meant that particular opinions, anxieties and fears of these groups of professionals and practitioners are highlighted in these findings, and possibly suggests that support and training may be needed for these groups of people, especially gay men who work with young people. Gay and lesbian workers discussed the issue of whether or not to identify their sexuality when working with young LGBTU people.

Clearly, the decision to disclose or not can be a difficult one for the practitioner and it certainly appears to be an area where support and training is needed for LGBTU staff. Specifically, the interview data reveals definite tensions exists between not wanting to disclose, yet feeling that it may be a positive decision for the young person and the working relationship; here professionals need training and support to increase their confidence and skills base to manage this tension.

Opinions were mixed on whether there should be separate LGBTU services or whether this should be linked into existing services for young people. Web sites and text messaging were favoured over leaflets to promote LGBTU issues. Qualities that young people said were needed in staff included good listening skills, showing respect and having self-confidence.

We are now applying for grants to use the results of this research to develop training that we would like to make available to all staff working with young people in Sussex. We have sent this report out to all relevant agencies and hope that it will be used to inform the development of services in the area.


Sherriff, N.S. Hamilton, W., Wigmore, S., and Giambrone, B. (2011) 'What do you say to them?' Investigating and Supporting the Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Young People. Journal of Community Psychology, 39(8), 939-955.

Wigmore, S., Sherriff, N.S. and Bogen-Johnston, L. (2009) The Sussex Training and Development Research Partnership. Final report prepared for the Brighton and Sussex Community Knowledge Exchange (BSCKE): Brighton, University of Brighton.

Hamilton, W., Sherriff, N.S., and Wigmore, S. (2009) The Sussex Training and Development Research Partnership: Accessible Summary Report

Sherriff, NS and Pope, R (2008) The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Unsure (LGBTU) Youth Research Project: Views and experiences of young people living in West Sussex, Education and Health, 26 (4) 63-66.

Pope, R and Sherriff, NS (2008) West Sussex Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Unsure (LGBTU) Youth Project. Final report to the West Sussex Youth Service and West Sussex PCT. University of Brighton.
Effective start/end date1/01/0831/12/08


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.