Who we are
'First Wednesday' is a support and social group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Greater Manchester area who are in the asylum process.
We take our name from our pattern of meeting in the afternoon of the first Wednesday of each month.
We meet in Manchester city centre at the offices of the LGBT Foundation, close to Piccadilly station and only a short walk from the bus and Metrolink stops in Piccadilly Gardens.
As most of our members live in the surrounding Boroughs of Greater Manchester, we have found that a public transport journey into the city centre is usually the most direct, easily accessible, and least costly option for attending our sessions.
What we do
At our meetings we discuss topics of interest to LGBT people seeking asylum, share information and experiences, signpost people to resources, and try to create a supportive atmosphere where everyone can be themselves. In our social time we enjoy ourselves, relax, and try to get to know each other better.
These take place in alternate months and normally consist of presentations by facilitators and guest speakers on specific issues, important updates, and information resources of relevance to the asylum process as it affects LGBT people.
From February 2019, we now hold TWO separate but identical Presentation Meetings as part of our First Wednesday meetings in February, April, June, August, October and December.
For some months the First Wednesday facilitators have been concerned at the overcrowding of our presentation meetings. The lack of space, and the excess heat inside the room when it is so full, are problems that we need to address particularly as we are receiving new members each month who seek our help.
We want to be able to support all who come to us needing help and we have tried to find a way which avoids turning people away at the door when the room is full. Therefore, we have decided to deliver the presentations twice on the same day and we are asking all who attend First Wednesday to come to only one of the two identical presentations.
The timings of our meetings on Presentation months will therefore be:
- 3pm - 3.30pm - Arrive and sign in for first session. (Please note the slightly earlier start time!)
- 3.30pm - 4.30pm - Presentations
- 4.30pm - 5pm - Social time and networking
- 5pm - 5.30pm - Arrive and sign in for second session.
- 5.30pm - 6.30pm - Presentations (repeat of 3.30pm session)
- 6.30pm - 7pm - Social time and networking
You are welcome to attend either session, but if the first session becomes full or risks becoming overcrowded, we may find it necessary to ask people to go out and come back at 5pm for the second session. If you are likely to arrive late for the start of the first session, please re-plan your afternoon in order to attend the second session rather than expecting late admission into the first session.
These alternate with the Full Meetings and offer a less formal opportunity to enjoy social time together, meet friends, make new acquaintances, share experiences, catch up with news, chat with facilitators, seek information, receive signposting to useful resources, and connect with other events and services being offered by the programme teams in the LGBT Foundation.
The formal timings of the Full Meetings do not apply to the Drop-In sessions and guests are welcome to come and go at any time, and stay as long as they wish, within our normal time slot of 3.00pm to 6.30pm.
Why we exist
There are many LGBT groups in Manchester, but often these don't understand the unique problems faced by people seeking asylum. Equally, there are various asylum groups in the city, but often these don't understand the issues that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have to deal with.
We are a friendly group which understands the pressures that you face and we try and help with those pressures through friendship, support, shared experiences, and practical help.
Please note: we are not immigration advisers. Our support work is limited to signposting, including directing individuals in need of immigration advice to a regulated adviser, and the provision of general information and resources on the immigration and asylum systems.
- Where? - The LGBT Foundation, Number 5, Richmond Street, Manchester M1 3HF.
- When? - The first Wednesday of the month, 3.00pm to 6.30pm.
Respect ourselves and each other
- Keep to time.
- Treat others as we wish to be treated.
- Listen to and pay attention to each other.
Be realistic about what we can afford and who we are
- We will provide travel expenses for the Full Meetings which take place in alternate months. We will try to cover, or to make a contribution towards, the cheapest possible travel ticket for asylum seekers only. We can't provide travel expenses for the drop-in sessions.
- We can't provide alcohol or food or direct grants of money to people.
- We recognize that this is a group for asylum seekers. The facilitators attend to administer the meetings but not to lead or determine the direction of the group. Non asylum seekers who come along do so in order to support asylum seekers where appropriate.
- We want to create an atmosphere of trust and so we don't repeat outside the group things we hear in the group.