A CHARITY which supports the LGBTQ+ community in Colchester has secured £73,000 National Lottery funding to expand its services to meet increased demand.

Outhouse East, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Colchester and further afield, has secured the cash from the National Lottery’s Community Fund.

The bid was put together due to rising demand during lockdown and will allow the charity to provide extra counselling and support services as well as update its online systems.

Jacquie Russell, service manager for Outhouse East, said the grant would be life-changing for the charity’s users.

She said: “We put in the bid in response to the coronavirus crisis.

“We have seen an increased need during the lockdown, especially with counselling and day-to-day support where people are struggling financially

“We need additional counselling support and a support worker who could be the first point of contact for service users.

“As we’re working remotely we also needed to work on our database and website and the money will also help us promote our work.

“As an organisation we are also growing and we need additional resources to help all the people we can.”

“The money will be life-changing for the people we work with.”

Outhouse East celebrated its 40th birthday last year, although it was originally known as the Colchester Gay Switchboard and run by the Colchester branch of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

It has grown and now offers services both in Colchester and across Essex.

To find out more about the charity and the vital work it does, visit outhouseeast.org.uk.