The Compass Centre has achieved the LGBT Charter at Silver level! Workers at the centre have worked hard over the last year to make The Compass Centre as accessible as possible for LGBT survivors, volunteers and staff. This has included new policies, training for staff and board members, an audit of resources, use of social media, new pages on the website, and special events throughout the year.
Followers of the centre’s social media will have seen messages of celebration and activism on key dates, including Trans Day of Remembrance, LGBT History Month, International Day of Trans Visibility, International day against homophobia, biphobia & transphobia, Pride month, Bisexual Visibility Day, and National Coming Out Day.
Members of BEE (Bold, Equal, Empowered) youth activism volunteering group took part in a sponsored walk earlier in the year for Purple Friday and the attendees at Shetland Pride were able to visit The Compass Centre information stand at the Pride Village earlier this month. The Centre also hosted its own open-door event as part of the wider weekend of pride celebrations, providing an opportunity for the public to visit and learn more about the work of the centre.
This work was made possible by funding from the Tampon Tax Fund. The LGBT Charter, run by LGBT Youth Scotland, is a programme that enables organisations to proactively include LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in every aspect of their work, supporting staff and volunteers and providing a high-quality service to service users. Participants are assessed against specific standards relating to leadership, training, policy, practice, visibility, and monitoring and evaluation. The Charter is awarded for a period of 4 years.
As part of our work to increase accessibility to our service, we have recently translated our information leaflet into British Sign Language! We are finalising written translations into Polish, Arabic and Ukrainian as well.
We have also received resources from Rape Crisis Scotland on ‘Preventing sexual violence and how to get support’. These have been translated into English, Arabic, Polish and Urdu.
Please get in touch if you would like a translated resource
In 2021 Shetland Rape Crisis was awarded funding through the Tampon Tax Fund, which enabled the recruitment and appointment of an Access & Inclusion Project Worker to:
- Improve access to support for survivors of sexual violence and their supporters.
- Proactively work to identify and overcome barriers to support.
- Engage and collaborate with survivors to identify and address their needs.
The project ran from May 2021 until June 2022 and had a focus on increasing Shetland Rape Crisis’ support capacity, the accessibility of the service, and its reach, for survivors of sexual violence in Shetland, and particularly for survivors from marginalised groups. We set ourselves an ambitious goal - by 2025, we want to see access and inclusion in everything we do at all levels of the service, where every survivor we support feels accepted for who they are and welcomed into a safe, accessible, and inclusive space.
As we reach the end of the project period, we’re excited to share a few highlights of our achievements over the past 12 months:
- Our 2021 campaign for 16 days of activism explored the theme of women in leadership, with window displays in local public areas celebrating international and local women leaders.
- Rebranding of the service as the Compass Centre included the development and launch on the new name, website, signage, information leaflet and related resources.
- We teamed up with Shetland Women’s Aid, Shetland Arts and Islesburgh Drama Group to stage and film ‘Fragmented,’ a play by Stephanie Pagulayan, which explores the impact and felt trauma of childhood sexual abuse in adult life.
- Shetland Pride 2022 takes place in July, and the Compass Centre have an information stand at the pride village, as well as hosting a pride coffee morning at the centre.
- Developing staff resources and understanding for working with survivors with different cultures, backgrounds, and abilities.
- Development of OWL, our volunteer group for survivors, ensuring that the voices of survivors are at the core of our work, shaping our priorities and helping us to improve our service.
- Implementation of translation and interpreting services for survivors who speak different languages, including British Sign Language and braille.
- Physical improvements to the building to make our toilets more accessible.
We continue to be passionate about promoting access and inclusion both for our workforce and for survivors of sexual violence; our ongoing access and inclusion agenda comprises the conversion of an outbuilding to a new client space, development of garden area as an accessible space for volunteers, staff and survivors to enjoy, as well as working towards silver chartermark accreditation with LGBT Youth Scotland.
A group of young people from Brae High School took part in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) and won £3000 for the Compass Centre. This project is run through YPI Scotland with the aim to empower young people to create change within their local communities.
To compete, the young people compiled a PowerPoint on their chosen charity to present in front of external and local judges, as well as their peers, with the winner getting £3000 for their charity. The group visited The Compass Centre to carry out research and ask staff first-hand how money could benefit the service if they were to win. The young people then presented an amazing PowerPoint and won the £3000 for the Compass Centre.
The money will be used to turn the existing outbuilding into a new support space for service users. We are very grateful that the young people chose the Compass Centre as their charity and their hard work means that a new space will soon be available for services users.
We want to say a massive thank you to Caelan, Hansen, Hannah and Clair for their excellent work and contribution to the Compass Centre!
From left to right: Caelan Skinner, Hansen Wood, Ellie Ratter (Prevention and Activism Worker), Hannah Williamson and Clair Smith
We have been continuing with our planned work and activities to achieve the Silver LGBT Charter; this forms part of our work towards becoming a more inclusive and accessible service. Earlier this year, our staff and Board members undertook awareness training through LGBT Youth Scotland; the training was really engaging and insightful, and we all took a lot away from it.
We have continued to make use of social media for celebration and activism on key dates, including Trans Day of Remembrance, LGBT History Month, and a sponsored walk with young volunteers for Purple Friday. We have planned social media posts and events coming up for International Day of Trans Visibility. International day against homophobia, biphobia & transphobia, Pride month, Bisexual Visibility Day, and National Coming Out Day. We will also be taking part in Shetland Pride on 2nd July 2022 and plan to hold our own small, event for survivors linked to Pride.
We believe it’s important that LGBTI+ survivors don’t feel silenced about what’s happened to them or what support they need. It is important that LGBTI+ people see their identities, experiences and issues reflected in information about sexual violence.
We hope that by working towards the Silver LGBT Charter, we to send a positive message that the Compass Centre is a champion of LGBT inclusion where LGBT employees, customers, or service users will be safe, supported and included. We plan to submit our Chartermark application later this year.