The only LGBTI service for youth on the NSW Central Coast says it is struggling to attract funding and is at risk of closing its doors for good.

The GenQ Program, which last month won an ACON Honour Award for it’s work with young people in the Central Coast community, is not in a healthy position according one of its facilitators, Jamie McKenzie.

McKenzie said the service was in difficulty financially because its parent organisation, Regional Youth Support Services, had been unable to allocate funding for 2013.

“The sad reality is Regional Youth Support Services Inc are not funded for the GenQ program in 2013,” McKenzie said.

“The primary source of funding for GenQ has come from private donations and small grants funding. We now call upon private local businesses to donate… to keep this one of a kind program on the Central Coast.”

The service, which has been run in the area for the last 16 years, receives no government funding.

In 2011, GenQ held workshop sessions addressing areas such as identity, homophobia, same-sex marriage, sexual health, self esteem, LGBTQI history and staying safe at Mardi Gras, as well as assising in the founding of Central Coast PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), hosting an evening with PFLAG spokeswoman Shelly Argent.

The group also participated in the 2011 Youth Week and gave outreach support to five local schools, with information and support offered to students and teachers.

GenQ is now holding a trivia night to try and raise funds to save the service from closure.

“This trivia night really is our last resort to help assure the continuation of this vital service on the coast, without it we don’t how we will be able to keep GenQ going,” McKenzie said.

The funds provided by this event will be used for running of the monthly support group plus in school advice and referral to teachers, students and family, and the continuation of community development of the Band Against Bullying Campaign.

The fundraiser will be held on the November 16 in the Youth Arts Warehouse (situated in the Gosford CBD) with hopes up to 300 people will attend.

INFO: Phone (02) 4323 2374 or email [email protected]

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