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15 March 2021

With You in Bournemouth drug and alcohol support worker wins a Dorset High Sheriff Award

Bournemouth drug and alcohol support worker Ben Kaye was presented with a Dorset High Sheriff award by the High Sheriff of Dorset, Mr George Streatfeild on Monday 15 March.

Mayor of Bournemouth Susan Phillips proposed Kaye, who is employed by the drug and alcohol treatment charity With You in Bournemouth, for the award due to his dedication in setting up new support options for people from the LGBTQ+ community who are affected by problematic drug and alcohol use.

Kaye, who was recently named as one of Attitude Magazine’s 100 LGBTQ+ trailblazers, is the LGBTQ+ lead at With You in Bournemouth, working tirelessly to set up a support group specifically for the local LGBTQ+ community. He runs the group online during the pandemic, providing a safe, non-judgemental space for LGBTQ+ people to come together and support one another in their recovery. Kaye also provides support to LGBTQ+ people across the UK through regularly managing an LGBTQ+ takeover of With You’s online webchat service.

Additionally, the award also recognises Kaye’s voluntary work outside of With You. He regularly volunteers for KeshetUK, supporting Jewish young people who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as working with the charity Space Youth Project supporting local young people who identify as LGBTQ+.

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Ben Kaye said:

“I’m really honoured to receive the award, especially for work that is so close to my heart. I know the enforced social isolation of the pandemic has really impacted a lot of people so being able to continue running the LGBTQ+ group in Bournemouth online for the past year has been brilliant, allowing people to connect with one another and provide support at this difficult time.”

Lisa Maddison has been attending the LGBTQ+ group in Bournemouth for over three years. She said:

“I’m a different person thanks to Ben and the LGBTQ+ group. When I first started attending I was quite angry and quiet, but having the space to share without being judged has helped me enormously. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.

“I think it’s so important to have a specific space for LGBTQ+ people in recovery because it provides a safe space to talk about your sexuality. You can speak your truth in the group and everyone will support you. The pandemic has been tough, but the group continuing online has made it much easier. We are a close knit community now, I feel like I’m part of a big family.

“I’m delighted Ben is being recognised for his work. He’s just so approachable and knowledgeable. He really deserves the recognition as he goes above and beyond to support people.”