Member Spotlight: Free2B Alliance

Monday, February 8, 2016 - 10:45

Each month we shine the spotlight on one of our Members so that you can find out a little more about them and the amazing people behind the logos! This month we chat to Lucie from Free2B Alliance about starting an LGBTQ+ Service and the pros and cons of being a Community Interest Company.  



Group Stats: 
Joined LGBT Consortium: November 2015
Structure: Free 2 B Alliance operates as a Community Interest Company.
Mission: To provide Support for LGBTQ+ young people, to provide support for parents (both LGBTQ+ parents and parents of LGBTQ+ children) and to offer training for organisations and education establishments to challenge Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia.

The Free 2 B Alliance started, as many LGBT services for young people do, as a service of a local Council back in 2010. Lucie Brooke and her colleague Nicki Ryan were both employees at Wandsworth Council at the time and launched the Gap LGBTQ+ youth club running weekly club sessions for young LGBTQ people. In 2015, after recognising that the level of need was increasing at a time when local authorities were having to make huge savings, Lucie and Nicki took the plunge and launched their own organisation!

We put Lucie under the spotlight for 5 minutes to talk to her about the group and what drives her to be involved.

LGBTC - What is your motivation to keep working/volunteering with the organisation?

"My motivation is seeing the difference we make to people’s lives through the youth club and our newly launched parent groups.  Recently, a new member attended the club and was visibly shaking they were so nervous - I introduced myself and stated 'I identify as female and prefer the female pronouns she & her…what about you?' – the young person was then clearly relieved and indeed delighted having never been asked their preferred pronouns before.

A fortnight later this young person arrived and was visibly excited to meet their new friends. The transformation in just a couple of weeks from someone who was initially so anxious and shaking was fantastic. They are now a regular and active member and in November they gave a talk to the whole group on gender identify.”

"We are privileged to watch young people who attend the club, grow in confidence and in many cases explore their gender identity"

LGBTC - What do you think will be the biggest challenge for your group/organisation in 2016? 

“Our biggest challenge is securing core funding to be able to develop new services and expand our provision. At present we have been able to secure some small project based grants which is fantastic, but we really need core funding to cover salaries and costs of all the management and coordination required to develop the organisation and deliver our services.”

LGBTC - What type/structure is your group and why did you decide on this type of group?

“We are a Community Interest Company with 3 directors. We spent a long time looking at CiC v’s charity and decided on the CiC because both Nicki and I were keen to have strategic input in shaping our own company as well as wanting to be able to do the ground level work with the young people, parents and organisations in salaried posts. With a charity structure we could either be volunteer trustees with a strategic overview, or employees – but not both.”

LGBTC – Can you give us one positive and one negative aspect related to the type/structure of your group?

“A huge positive as mentioned above, is the CiC structure allows us to be both Directors and take on salaried roles which was so important to us.

On the negative side, despite that fact that CiCs are Not-For-Profit with charitable aims, they don’t qualify for charitable tax benefits, including Gift Aid on any donations and a number of grant givers only serve charities.”

LGBTC  - How are you using your Membership with LGBT Consortium?

“The consortium membership has been brilliant in giving us access to the funder finder and 1:1 funding advice and support from the Engagement Team. This has helped us rethink our grant application approach and opened up a number of opportunities we were unaware of.”

LGBTC - What one piece of advice would you give to our Members who are just starting out?

“Don’t give up and stay positive!! Be prepared to put in the effort and hours which will likely be voluntary to begin with, but keep at it...

...when your first grant application is approved, it’s a truly amazing feeling!!!”

Find out more about Free2B Alliance here.


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