LGBTQ hidden histories awarded National Lottery support in North Tyneside

Young people will explore LGBTQ heritage in North Tyneside

Thanks to a £49,700 National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) the group of 14 to 25 year olds, themselves LGBTQ, will lead the project with children’s charity Barnardo’s.

As well as exploring links to changing attitudes, influences on North Tyneside’s social scene and the impact of national milestones over the past 60 years, the group aims to bridge the gap between themselves and previous generations by sharing their stories for the first time.

The group will delve into local archives, record interviews with older members of the LGBTQ community and share their findings online and as part of a touring exhibition. An archive will also be created at North Tyneside Libraries creating a lasting legacy of their heritage.

For the young people involved, the project is personal. By understanding the journey of the people who came before them, they hope to develop a stronger sense of belonging, identity and pride. By sharing their findings they also hope to raise awareness of the history and positive impact LGBTQ history has had on young people in North Tyneside.

A participant in the project said: “Hearing what it used to be like makes me feel aggravated, livid, lucky I’ve grown up in a world where it (being LGBT) is acceptable in most countries.” Another participant added: “I would like to find out what clubs and pubs people went to and how they met when it was against the law.”

Jack Stoker, project Peer Mentor, said: “Being bisexual, I've always felt that there just wasn't enough in terms of services especially for young people. Personally out of this project I want a sense of belonging in our history, where did those before go, what did they do, how did they live? All questions which need to be answered. North Tyneside has a rich history and a strong LGBT+ presence so finally having this group is monumental to finding out what if anything existed before and what secrets of how they lived before.”

Brandon Lee, who also participated in the project, said: “For me it’s good because it will help me to understand what life was like for my lesbian grandmother. To understand how she grew up in a society that didn’t understand or accept her lifestyle and who she is. I think it would be good to show people what the actual history of our community is and how we have grown and evolved.”

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project comes nearly a year after Barnardo’s created the So What?! @ The BASE LGBTQ group to give young people a space to share their ideas and get support from their peers. It is those young people who are the inspiration and driving force behind this project.

Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, young people will uncover the hidden heritage of the LGBTQ community in North Tyneside and, for the first time, tell the stories of local people who paved the way to changing attitudes and influenced today’s social scene. We’re delighted to support this project and look forward to celebrating the group’s success.”

If you have a story to share, or would like to see more information, please visit the Barnardo's website.

Notes to editors

About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported


Last year 248,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 996 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you.

Visit the Barnardo's website to find out how you can get involved. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605


The BASE, Barnardo’s project in Whitley Bay, has recently expanded to help more children, young people and families across North Tyneside and Northumberland. The service provides individual support and group programmes in-centre and outreach in the community to address health, social and learning needs that have an impact on the well-being of children and young people aged 11-25.  

Young people can access individual support through the drop-in Monday to Friday between 1 and 5 pm sessions, if they have a crisis or if they need practical support to address basic needs. 

The service also provides bespoke after-school/evening group sessions from 4 to 8pm Monday to Friday including the So What?!@the BASE LGBTQ group.

Last year The BASE supported around 300 children, young people and families and works collaboratively with a wide range of partners including schools and training providers, Children Services and health services/professionals, other voluntary sector youth agencies and parents/carers.

Further information

Rebecca Harris, Communications Manager, Heritage Lottery Fund, 020 7591 6072 or

Matt Beer: Media and Communications Manager, Barnardo’s East Region, 07917 547 508

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