Allsorts (of) FAQ’s
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s it like coming to Allsorts for the first time?
We arrange for new people to come along a bit early to the Allsorts venue. A support worker will meet you and have a few minutes to chat with you to let you know about the drop-in and Allsorts. Then they will introduce you to some of the regular members who are there that week. You can work out how to get to Allsorts by looking at our ‘getting to allsorts’ page.
As the first few people arrive for the drop-in, a worker or volunteer will usually stay with you and introduce to more young people. The workers and volunteers will look out for you all the time to ensure that you are not left sitting on your own or feeling awkward. The whole group has an informal meal together at 6.30 and then we gather for any LGBT announcements at 7pm. Then there will usually be a group activity or discussion or people will sit and use the internet or just hang out in the court yard. The activities are easy to participate in and fun and relaxed – it’s a good way of feeling safe and getting to know people, particularly if you’re a bit shy or nervous.
At the end of the night people will generally hang around for a few minutes. The young people usually arrange to go out to a pub immediately after the drop-in finishes, and everyone is invited. Most of the time, someone will remember to ask the new people if they want to come, but if not, just tag along anyway!
Who else is already at Allsorts?
There are a wide range of people who attend Allsorts, varying from 16 to 25, with an average age of about 18-21. Some are at school/college/university, some are working and some are unemployed. Some people have been out as LGBT for several years, and some are just thinking about what their sexual orientation or gender identity may be. On average, there are about 30 people at each drop-in, so there’s a good chance that you’ll meet someone you can get on with.
Who would be able to find out I went to Allsorts?
Allsorts keeps records of numbers, ages etc of all young people attending in order to monitor and evaluate how things are going, as well as give us contact details for you if ever we need to contact outside of drop-in/group times. If you do give any personal information, it will be treated by staff as confidential – they are the only people who will be able to look at you details. The only time staff break confidentiality is if you or someone else is seen to be at risk. Staff would speak to you about this before this would happen. Young people attending Allsorts are also expected to respect the privacy of others by not repeating things said during the group discussions and remembering that if they should meet someone outside of the group, they may not want the people they are with at that time to know they had been.
Do I have to join in the activities?
No, but there are plenty of other things for you to do. There are books, magazines, and Internet-connected PCs available.
Will I be able to get some one-to-one help with a support worker?
The workers are very busy during the group sessions, but you can book time with them at other times. Just ask.
Will I find a partner?
Many of the people who attend Allsorts are doing so because they want to meet other people and sometimes that includes looking for a relationship, but the primary purpose of the groups is to be supportive and welcoming to everyone there, so any relationships that form tend to do so outside of the actual group.
Will I be having to fight off swarms of people flirting with me?
NO! Most people realise that when you are meeting a group of people for the first time, it’s best to get to know them slowly. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, speak to an Allsorts worker or volunteer.
Are there any other ground rules?
Everyone has to abide by the rules of the building and the Allsorts ground rules, which have been written by young people. These include no drug or alcohol use and no smoking except in the courtyard. Everyone is expected to treat each other with respect and keep the drop-in a safe place for all who attend.
What exactly is there to do?
During different groups, there are books and magazines and the Internet available, plus sitting around chatting and drinking tea. Most groups include an organised activity such as a talk, making something, watching a video, etc. You can find out more about this by looking at the rest of the this section in the website.
OK, I want to come, what do I do?
Get in touch with one of the workers, by phone (01272 721211) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let them know you want to come. They’ll arrange for you to meet with them at the Allsorts venue. Here you will have a chat with a worker and do a few forms. This gives you a chance to get to know the worker, find out a bit more about Allsorts and ask any questions. You can work out how to get to Allsorts by looking at our ‘Getting to Allsorts’ page or asking when arranging an induction.
I don’t want to come at the moment, any advice?
You can still phone or email for a general chat to ask for 121 support. You can get 121 support even if you don’t attend any of the groups. Or perhaps you might find one of the other services in our links or local services sections is better for you.
Want to come along to Allsorts, but I have a few worries
It’s quite normal and natural to be a bit on the nervous side about going to a group where nobody knows you and you don’t know anybody. We hope that this might just help a bit in putting at rest some of your fears.
The Allsorts staff have a lot of experience of working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people and those who think they might be, but aren’t sure; and we have often been asked these questions over the years. So read on, perhaps things will seem easier once you have done. Remember you can always give us a call or email us if you want to ask any more questions.
What if it’s cliquey and I don’t fit in?
In any group you go to certain people will be drawn together because they like the same music, have shared interests or whatever. Most people will find other people in Allsorts who they get on particularly well with. This is a fact of life and different to a group becoming cliquey: this is about people deliberately stopping other people from being a part of their particular mini-group. We see this as a form of bullying and Allsorts workers will not allow this to continue without asking the young people what’s happening.
Not everyone will want to be your friend, but you and everyone has a basic right to be treated fairly and with respect. Whatever happens, the workers will not leave you sitting in a corner on your own! Allsorts is like any other group of people; some you will like a lot, others you could well do without and others you will either take or leave.
Will it be too serious with everyone sitting around talking about their problems?
If you have never before been able to talk about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity, it can feel as if there is nothing very positive about being bisexual, lesbian, gay or trans. Coming to Allsorts may change some of those negative feelings. Yes, we do talk about serious stuff some of the time, and occasionally this can be quite difficult for some people. Remember, you don’t have to take part in the serious stuff, you can hang out with other people who aren’t taking part or read a magazine or use the internet; it’s up to you.
I’m still not sure about my sexual orientation or gender identity!
A lot of people are not very sure about anything, so it’s hardly surprising that some people are not sure about their sexual orientation or gender identity. We understand this; it’s perfectly normal. The Allsorts workers will treat you as an individual. We are not here to make you lesbian or gay, bisexual, male or female . We are here to support you in the ways YOU want to be supported. Quite a few people have come along to Allsorts who have been unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity, some have gone on to decide that they are gay, lesbian or bisexual, others have decided that they are probably straight, and others have remained unsure. Some young people feel they want to explore their gender identity, others are sure they want to transition. All this is fine; there’s no time limit on deciding who you are and who you want to be.
I’m worried about going to a group on my own and into a room where everyone knows each other.
First of all you won’t go to the group for the first time on your own. One of the workers and perhaps one of the group members will have spoken to you and welcomed you to Allsorts. They will talk very informally about how you are in terms of your identity, go through the ground rules and generally try to help you to feel relaxed and address any worries you may have. As far as possible a worker or volunteer will stay with you for your first session if that’s something you want – but this may not always be possible if the group is very busy. Someone will always be looking out for you those first few weeks.
What actually goes on in a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, I’ve been told it’s just sex, sex, sex?
If you read certain National newspapers and listen to certain politicians you might reasonably expect a group like Allsorts just to be about sex, sex and more sex. This really is nonsense; this view is based on ignorance and prejudice. You can make Allsorts what you want it to be – within reason! You might use it as a place to meet new friends; it can be a place where you can talk about things you may have never been able to talk about before, or perhaps you want some support and advice.
I’m shy and I find it hard to talk to people I don’t know.
No one is expecting you to suddenly arrive at Allsorts and be the life and soul of the party. If you are shy the workers will introduce to perhaps one or two other people that first night so you have a chance to build up your confidence slowly. Of course you might not want to speak to anyone for weeks and this is fine. Lots of shy people have come along to Allsorts and have made a place for themselves. A good idea is not to go out of your way to try and fit in. Be yourself and although you will find that it will possibly take you longer to make friends, you will probably also find that the ones you do make will be friends for a long time.
I am bisexual, will people think I am not really one thing or the other?
Our group is for LGBT young people and unsure young people. We celebrate everyone’s identity and we see sexual orientation as fluid and also not so simple. Lots of people are bisexual but say they are straight. Lots of people are bisexual but say they are lesbian or gay. It is absolutely okay to be bisexual at Allsorts. In addition, we have many young people who come along who are pansexual, asexual, queer etc; your sexual orientation is completely valid and Allsorts will support you whether is a lifelong sexual orientation or part of a journey.
What if it’s too much for me that first time and I don’t want to come back for a while?
No problem whatsoever. For some people that first visit is just too heavy, and they can’t wait to get out that door. The Allsorts workers understand this and will not make any judgments. You must do what you feel comfortable with and at your own speed. You may decide that you don’t want to come back for a month, 6 months or ever again. Just remember that an open door awaits you if and when you do decide to come back: and people have done this, it’s not unusual.
I’m scared that people will find out that I’m going to an LGBTU group.
Some people couldn’t care less if everyone knows that they go to a LGBTU youth group. Many people though, would be terrified at that thought. One of the ground rules of Allsorts is that members do not tell every Jo, Mick and Sally they meet about who else goes to the group. Many people will be in the same situation as you, or were not too long ago, so this rule is respected.
I’ve only just come out and don’t know anything about being LGBT.
There are no rules for how to be gay or bisexual or lesbian or trans. The LGBT communities do have different cultures and ways to be that some people think are more cool than others, like any other groups of people. But you don’t have to be anything you don’t feel comfortable with.No need to try and fit in with what other people tell you, take from it all what’s good for you. At the end of the day, the most important thing to know about and explore is you.
I’m not sure if I’m trans or not – can you help me?
Yes. Our one-to-one support is there to help you think about what is going on for you. We have a core trans support team who provide support for people who are trans or gender questioning, in addition to a trans group which runs on a different day to the drop in.
I think I’m trans does that make me gay/lesbian?
It’s really usual for people to confuse gender identity (am I male, female, trans, something more complex than this?) with sexual orientation (do I want to have relationships with people of the same gender as me, either gender or a different gender to me?). There are links but actually, if you think about it, they are different things! Questioning and exploring the gender I feel I am is a different thing from questioning and exploring who I want to have relationships with. Any person who is trans can have any sexual orientation, the same as someone who is cisgender (not trans) can have any sexual orientation.
Are there many trans people at your drop-in?
There are more LGB young people at Allsorts than trans, but there are usually trans people attending the Drop-In. We also have trans staff and volunteers who are always around. In addition to our trans specific group ‘Transformers’ for people who are trans or questioning their gender.