A CHURCH minister has set up a youth group that supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Newport.

Kirsty Mabbott, Church Related Community Work Minister at the United Reformed Church, set up the group in Newport last September so that young people have a safe space where they can be themselves “without having to explain their sexuality or gender”.

The 34-year-old said: “Every week, around six or seven people aged 16 and above come to the group.

“I think the young people that attend see it as a vital space as it gives them a space to be together and talk about things that they may not talk about somewhere else.

“We talk about sex and relationships a lot, because they don’t necessary have anyone else to ask questions - especially if they are not ‘out’ to their friends and family.

“Sex education in schools is changing, but that doesn’t mean they talk about non-heterosexual relationships.”

The minister said that young people typically go online to look for answers, which isn’t necessary the safest option.

“We have also done things about self-esteem and what makes them unique as human beings,” the minister said. “From the reactions we have had, they find it quite positive and helpful.

“I do not counsel anybody, but provide informal education - we talk about stuff.

“If they need counselling, I signpost them to their GPs.”

The group uses the Church in Wales safeguarding policy and procedures, with the minister and two other leaders involved in the group being CBS checked.

They use materials from projects such metrosexual.com and thesafezoneproject.com and are in conversations with Umbrella Cymru, who has referred people to the group.

At the sessions, there is food provided, ranging from pizza to curry. They also play games and watch movies.

For more details about the group, which doesn’t publicise itself widely for safety reasons, contact Kirsty Mabbott on kirstymabbott@hotmail.com

The minister is happy to meet with those interested in attending beforehand if they are nervous about joining. For more information about LGBT+ group Rainbow Newport visit facebook.com/LGBTIQnewport