UWE Bristol launches LGBT buddy accommodation scheme

UWE accommodation Image copyright Google
Image caption The buddy scheme is due to launch at the University of the West of England next September

A live-in buddy scheme for LGBT university students is to launch for the first time in the UK in Bristol.

University of the West of England (UWE) will offer new students the opportunity to live with another LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) student during their first year.

Ollie Ley, LGBT president at the student union, said the scheme arose after complaints of discrimination.

He said it would "beat the sense of isolation" some students face.

'Cold shoulder'

"I know we live in a world where there shouldn't be discrimination but it still happens," he added.

"Last year we had some LGBT students say they felt flatmates were giving them the cold shoulder or were excluding them from meals, or nights out.

"We offer alcohol-free and quiet accommodation so this is another option."

Recent research from the charity Stonewall revealed 42% of LGBT students hide their sexuality over fear of discrimination.

While other universities across the UK offer mentoring schemes, the National Union of Students says this is the first voluntary buddy scheme tied to housing.

Vivienne Jowett, head of accommodation services at UWE, said it was an "exciting chance to make the scary move from home a positive experience for new students".

"We were very keen that we didn't want to segregate LGBT students in whole flats, but this will help students who are starting out in a new environment," she added.

The scheme is due to launch in September 2020.

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