During a visit to the Barnardo’s service in Whitley Bay, he had the opportunity to chat to the after-school group session of younger children, who showed him around the building and told him about all the activities they do, as well as meeting the So What!? @The BASE lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) support group of 14-to-25-year-olds, which has been running for 18 months.
The BASE was designed to be a safe and inspirational youth environment, with programmes developed with children and young people to build confidence and self-esteem.
Mr Khan said: “It was a real pleasure seeing young people who so obviously enjoy what they do at the BASE and to find out first-hand what a real difference being able to come to the service makes to them.
“Whether they are participating in cookery, art, games or other confidence-building activities, there is a real buzz to everything going on and along with the dedicated Barnardo’s staff and volunteers, the children and young people create a fantastic atmosphere.
“I was also pleased to meet the So What?! group and hear about its members’ work creating an environment where LGBT young people can make friends, support each other and undertake ground-breaking research, such as the Hidden Histories project.”
The project came about when members of the group wanted to uncover the undocumented the area’s LGBT history and they were successful in getting Heritage Lottery funding to help them.
Barnardo’s project worker Caroline Waitt said: “The group wants anyone from North Tyneside who identifies as LGBT, or who has a family member who identifies as being LGBT, to help this exciting work. They can call us on 0191 2532127 for details on how they can get involved.”
Earlier in the same day, Mr Khan visited the Barnardo’s shop in Shiremoor with Barnardo’s area business manager Jo Strachan.
There he met store manager Irene Todd and store associate Joanne Cave.