Comic Relief funding allows local gym to pilot safe space for LGBTQiA young people


A gym in Bedford is working with therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers and boxing coaches to support young people in Bedford’s LGBTQiA community.

The new space at Samsons Academy will deliver the six-week pilot scheme for 20 young people between the ages of 15 and 21-years-old who may have experienced discrimination or social difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

For marginalised communities, the Covid pandemic has reduced access to venues that are safe to attend without fear of discrimination or abuse.

This, plus the ongoing social difficulties faced by people from the LGBTQiA community, has compounded the sense of isolation, lack of self-esteem and confidence.

“We feel exceptionally fortunate and honoured to have been one of the few charity organisations around the UK that secured funding through Comic Relief and The Metro Fund to facilitate this six-week pilot at Samsons Academy,” said Academy chief operations officer, Dorian Alexis.

“The trustees and therapist who work in partnership with the rest of our growing team are really determined to give more young people and young adults the platform, a safe space and an arena where they can get much-needed support and guidance.”

Samsons Academy’s therapy service has already supported nearly 200 young people since the start of the pandemic.

“We will be working alongside Simon Beadeau from Power in Discussion, Clare Coplestone and Rigerta Ahmetaj of Meaningful Education as well as our Therapy Lead at Samsons Academy, Po Chan, of Therapy With,” explained Dorian.

“Having access to alternative therapies such as exercise are proven to maintain mental health and well-being that’s why we included two elements of this within the pilot, yoga with Richy Green from Serene Warrior and Sam Nutt, director and co-founder of Samsons Academy.”

The team say they hope to run the course throughout the year, based on the outcomes of the pilot. Young people are free to enrol at any time during the six weeks.

The Allsorts pilot is due to start on Saturday 3rd April at 7pm and will be facilitated online. For more information please contact

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