Volunteers Week 2020:- Shining the light on Project Unity
Written by Gavin on 4th June 2020
About Project Unity
‘Project Unity’ is a LGBT+ peer to peer support charity primarily based in the Cynon valley and recently expanded into Merthyr Tydfil. The charity was set up in 2015 by Alex Lonan (CEO) following homophobic attacks, and lead to a realisation that there were no support groups within RCT to be able to turn to for help or advice.
Project Unity originally set up under the name ‘Cynon Valley Equality Association’ with guidance from ‘Visible SMT’ (A former LGBT+ group in Merthyr Tydfil), over time the name changed to match our core values of bringing everyone together in Unity.
The group meet every third Saturday of the month from 12 until 2pm at the Cynon valley museum, who have been a really helpful and close ally to their cause.
They run a coffee afternoon which offers a warm and friendly environment where people can be free to be themselves without the fear of being discriminated against, Coffee afternoons are open to anyone LGBT+, 16+ and those who are allies of the cause. At this time they are unable to have their coffee afternoons, but hope they can return once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
What do Project Unity Do?
Project Unity offer peer to peer support, they understand everyone has a different background and story so advise as best they can.
They are purely run by volunteers who all share a common interest of unity and promote positive attitudes within the area and do this by providing free events such as lectures within the Cynon valley museum to raise awareness in issues facing the LGBT+ community.
We also put on social events such as LGBT+ club nights and masquerade balls, these in tern both create a safe space for people to be themselves as well as bringing the community together further increasing awareness and reducing social anxiety.
We have previously worked with other groups and organisations to widen our reach and message and will continue to do so.
Their local MS Vikki Howells is one of the charities biggest allies and has said “Without this project in the Cynon Valley, our LGBT+ friends would not recieve the support they require and this is why I offer my continued support to Alex and his collegues and wish them continued success with this project”
A few of our past events include:-
2015-2017 Coffee afternoons on a fortnightly basis & LGBT+ picnics.
2017 First LGBT+ history month event at the Cynon valley museum
2017 Stall at pride Cymru where members of the group received a ticket in return for an hour of their time.
2017 LGBT+ club night in Aberdare, the first of it kind which was held at the Market Tavern with a great turnout.
In 2018 we held our first “a night without labels” masquerade ball in Jacs for Halloween, people arrived in masquerade masks and really enjoyed the night, a DJ was present and a raffle was held.
Also, in 2018 we held our first Transgender day of remembrance in St Elvans church in Aberdare.
November 2019 saw Night Without labels return to Trecynon hall for a Fundraiser for Aberdare parks splashpad.
December 2019 our first Night Without Labels was held in Clwb Y Bont, Pontypridd.
February 2020 we held a flag raising ceremony to mark LGBTQ+ history month in Merthyr Tydfil, this was te first council in Wales to include Non-Binary inclusion, this was the best year for flag raising with a huge turnout of 60 people.
February 2020 also saw the return of our history month event, this year we welcomed stall holders from various organisations, Author and historian Norena Shopland, spoken word poetry and a drag act Diana D all the way from Llanelli to the Cynon Valley museum with a turnout of 112 people.
We’re excited to be involved with LGBTQymru’s Wales wide virtual pride on July 24th-25th and hope you enjoy the acts we have selected
Want to be involved or find out more information?
You can follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/projectunityHQ