COUNCILLORS are set to discuss funding a support group for the town’s LGBTQ youth at a meeting tonight.

Andover Town Council are set to debate the supplying a £2,000 grant towards setting up a Breakout Youth project at a full council meeting.

The incentive, led by Councillor Andy Fitchet, could fund paid workers for this financial year and next before continuing as a voluntary group.

At a Community Engagement Committee meeting held in July, Cllr Fitchet put forward the funding idea to other committee members, which councillor Katherine Bird seconded.

Cllr Fitchet said the idea of the project came as a result of county council budget cuts and a lack of open access support for all of the town’s young residents.

Breakout Youth, an LGBTQ support charity, offers group based support to LGBTQ young people in Southampton, Eastleigh, Basingstoke and on The Isle of Wight.

Cllr Fitchet said an agreement has been reached in which Breakout Youth can apply for a borough council grant of £2,000, but only if this is match funded elsewhere.

In a report to the committee, he added: “Over the past seven years, due to budget pressures on Hampshire County [Council], we have seen all open access youth work close in Andover.

“That means that many young people have no safe space to talk through issues they may be going through and challenges they face.

“This is a particular issue for young LGBT+ people.

“Suicide and self harm is a much higher amongst LGBT young people than society at large.

“I want to make sure that there is a safe space where young people working out their sexuality can come and talk and be affirmed for who they are.

“I believe this joint project between Breakout Youth, Andover Town Council and Test Valley Communities Team will do just that.”

Despite coming out of the council’s reserves, Cllr Fitchet said there would be no financial implication for the town council.

Out of the five councillors present at the Community Engagement Committee meeting, three voted for, one against and one abstained, allowing the incentive to be presented to full council.

The meeting will be held at The Guildhall at 7pm.