Introduction: Birmingham LGBT
Birmingham LGBT was set up in 2002, with the aim of reinvigorating the diverse lesbian and gay communities in Birmingham. It was originally named Birmingham Pride Trust, to reflect its origins as a breakaway group from Pride Festival, and was funded by a donation of profits from the Festival. Several of the former Pride organisers had wanted to do something to improve the quality of life of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community year round, not just during the May bank holiday festival. In 2013 following a successful Big Lottery Reaching Communities bid and capital investment from Birmingham City Council, Birmingham LGBT Centre opened its doors.
Our Vision is a vibrant, diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community in Birmingham in which individuals can realise their full potential and have equal access to all the city has to offer.
As Birmingham’s leading charity advocating for and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Birmingham and neighbouring authorities, we want Birmingham to be one of the best places in the country for LGBT people to live, work and socialise, with a thriving, visible and proud LGBT community.
We have a programme of wellbeing initiatives and a sexual health service which is part of the Umbrella Sexual Health service in Birmingham and Solihull, all based at the Birmingham LGBT Centre in central Birmingham. Our aim is to address significant health inequalities experienced by LGBT people with programmes including support services and groups, counselling, an older people’s service, a trans inclusion project, domestic violence support, volunteering, a queer arts festival, community events, and training.
Our objectives are to raise awareness of the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people in Birmingham and beyond, to advocate for their needs to the wider community and to promote opportunities to LGBT people in Birmingham and beyond to enable them to participate fully in the lives of their community.
- To act as the voice of the LGBT third sector in Birmingham, based on a knowledge and evidence of real need, creating a positive and visible LGBT community.
- To create a highly skilled LGBT third sector that has opportunities for volunteering and service development.
- To raise awareness of the needs of the LGBT community in the city and develop appropriate services where needs exist.
- To challenge negative stereotypes about LGBT people and combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Birmingham LGBT are seeking a creative web designer/ design company to design and build a new website for their organisation which reflects the vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community in Birmingham.
The website needs to be user experience led, with clear routes to the services offered and information available. There are three main strands of service – Sexual Health, Wellbeing and Domestic Violence support.
Service users are a range of ages and ethnicities, and this needs to be reflected in the design so that it is welcoming and accessible for all. It needs to be design-led and contemporary, with a combination of photography and illustrative elements that reflect the community it serves.
The website would need to be built in a way which enables the staff team to easily update and edit it, without need to involve the developers on a regular basis.
Although previous experience of working with an LGBT organisation isn’t necessary, experience of working with a charity would be ideal, as would an ability to demonstrate cultural competence.
Since we opened in 2013, the services offered by Birmingham LGBT have evolved to meet the changing needs of our diverse community. We now offer LGBTQ+ affirmative counselling, and our wellbeing support team has grown from one to nine. We have a trans inclusion project and yet we do not have a section of the website dedicated to our trans service users.
The current website was built in 2015, and no longer reflects what we offer and is not sufficiently user focussed. There are far too many levels and analytics have shown that users often do not go beyond the home page. It was built around the organisational structure rather than the user needs. It was built using WordPress and is managed in-house by various staff members. Any major changes have to go to the original web developers to implement, which incurs a charge. We don’t have a CRM, but will be seeking funding for this in the coming months, so it would be helpful if the new site would be built in a way that could incorporate a new CRM in the future.
We have approximately 72,000 unique visitors to the site per year, a bounce rate of 69% and an average session duration of 1 minute 15 seconds. Visits to the main Sexual Health page stand at 827 last month, with a duration of 46 seconds on the page. This suggests our visitors find all of the information they need on the top page, making the others redundant, or they cannot find what they want easily, so leave.
We have decided that we need a new website which is friendly and welcoming, easy to navigate and more reflective of the diverse community we serve. The home page needs to direct visitors quickly to the area they need and provide clear concise information with a minimum of steps. We are also seeking to increase donations and individual giving, and this needs to be visible on every level of the new build.
Vision for the new website
- We want service users to be able to find the information and support that they need quickly.
- We want to present our work in an inspiring way, demonstrating that we are making a difference, and making the case for the importance of us continuing with our work.
- We want people to connect with Birmingham LGBT and the work we do to support the community, and donate to help us continue to deliver our vital support services.
How the website achieves our vision
- Tells our organisational story.
- Signposts people to our support services (phone/ email, social media, newsletter signup/calls to action), opportunities to volunteer.
- Demonstrates our ambition to put the community at the heart of everything we do.
- Is a source of information and signposting for health professionals.
- Has a form function to enable us to collect and process referrals for services centrally, cutting down on internal paperwork.
- Is easily updatable by staff members without the need for frequent additional charges.
- Has a ‘leave this site’ function visible on every page.
Technical scope and project phases
We envisage the website development project comprising three phases:
- Content audit, design and development
- Design and build
- Test and launch.
We want a single supplier for the whole project. We do not undertake any in-house development and do not have a view on which technology stack we should use, but we will seek assurances that the chosen framework can be patched/ updated at minimal cost and downtime. It should be hosted in the cloud and not on your own servers, to minimise cost and increase up-time. We want the chosen platform to be open source and have a proven developer community and a wide selection of existing plugins.
Features we are expecting the project to deliver include:
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Video/ Photographs/ Illustration
- Donation payment form
- Social media integration (e.g. Facebook badges, Like buttons, Twitter feeds)
- Contact forms/ booking forms
- Newsletter integration (e.g. subscribe to the newsletter)
- RSS feeds
- Online surveys
- AA web accessibility standards/ accessibility information/ toolbars
- Multi-format, with a focus on working for mobile
- Security features (protection of sensitive information).
We do not have a strict brand, and we are seeking to change this. We want our new website to take elements of our existing brand and elevate it, using the logo as a point of reference for all themed design throughout the site. We are looking for guidance on brand continuity across the organisation.
What we expect from agencies
We are seeking a written proposal of no more than four pages, setting out:
- Why you are well-placed to develop our new website, including setting out experience of similar projects (and examples of other websites you have designed)
- An indicative full budget costing for the project
- Which open-source CMS would be best
- Details of the day rates and roles of all key staff involved in the project
- Whether you will be able to meet the deadline of September 2022; if not, detail what you think is realistic
- What information you expect you will need from Birmingham LGBT during the process
- Details of your customer services/ support/ maintenance model
We have budget approval for £10,000. We encourage agencies to consider what the right budget is for a charity of our size, and what the website needs to deliver. We think that the following are models we can learn from in terms of being user-focused and having a navigation that makes it relatively easy to find the right information:
We are focused on achieving good value for money, and so want to use existing good practice where we can and would ideally spend less than the full budget. Given these considerations, we are hoping agencies will use their pitches to make the case for what is the right level of spend for us.
- 12th January 2022: Invitation to Tender issued to agencies
- 6th February 2022 (end of day): Deadline for submission
- w/c 7th February 2022: Shortlist agencies for interview (all agencies will be informed if they have been shortlisted)
- 24th February 2022 (TBC): Agency presentations
- 28th February 2022: Appointment of preferred agency
- w/c 7th March 2022: First project meeting (timings for rest of the project to be agreed)
- September 2022: (TBC) New website launch
The day-to-day management of the website development will be done by the Operations Manager. Other key stakeholders for the project will be:
- Sexual Health Manager
- Finance Officer
- Older People’s Worker
- PA to the Director
- Marketing Group
We will need to report regularly to the Director on progress, who will in turn report to the Board of Trustees.
Please submit expressions of interest, examples of previous work, and a draft quote to email@example.com by 6 February 2022.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
So, you may well ask – Alexus, what on earth is Trans Day of Remembrance, and why should we care about it? Good question, glad you asked it.
A bit of history then. Trans Day of Remembrance, or TDoR was started in 1999 by trans advocate Gwendolyne Ann Smith, as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman who was killed in 1998. This initial vigil began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance and commemorates and remembers the trans people lost to violence.
As to why you should care…..
I’ve attached a link to a list of trans people who have lost their lives since 1 October 2019.
I hope that you will see how important this day is to the trans community, and will feel love, compassion and empathy for your fellow human beings.
I would also like to talk in general terms about other issues that are currently affecting trans people, and I think ties in with the overall theme of TDoR.
As a trans person and particularly a trans woman, I feel that my identity, my life, is constantly being questioned, examined and debated. I’m pretty thick skinned but I have never felt so attacked, whether it is via the media or online by individuals and groups. The atmosphere is becoming increasingly toxic, the ‘debate’ more and more heated. It’s all quite depressing at times to be honest.
Should this be concerning to you if you are not trans? Well, putting aside your empathy and compassion, what if someone in your family is struggling with their gender identity and is too scared to speak to someone? What if a friend or loved one is trans and facing abuse on a daily basis, with the knock on negative effect on their general wellbeing?
Where there is a real or perceived hostile atmosphere, no one, let alone a trans person, would feel comfortable or safe. And no one at all wants to live their life feeling like that.
Finally, if you are trans or non-binary and want support or someone to talk to, then please email me at email@example.com or phone 0121 643 0821.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
Alexus Savage, Trans Wellbeing Support Worker
Following a successful funding application to Comic Relief’s COVID-19 recovery fund, Birmingham LGBT is proud to announce the addition of a new free therapeutic counselling service to its range of wellbeing and sexual health services, as part of the recovery from the effects of COVID-19. The centre already offers counselling services for members of the trans community, which launched in late 2019, and these new funds will enable the organisation to offer counselling to all members of the LGBT community.
The funding award will enable Birmingham LGBT to offer free counselling sessions for 6 months to support people during the recovery from COVID-19. The organisation is thrilled to be able to offer this new service, particularly in the light of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the mental health of the LGBT community. Isolation, financial hardship, and a lack of family support are just a few of the many issues impacting the community, many of whom relied on community groups at the LGBT centre, and the bars and clubs in Birmingham’s Gay Village, to provide much needed social activity.
Steph Keeble, Director of Birmingham LGBT said ‘I am delighted that Comic Relief have decided to support this application which will enable us to offer free therapeutic counselling to members of the LGBT community for the next 6 months, many of whom have experienced poor mental health and isolation as a result of the pandemic “
The centre has two fully qualified and BACP registered counsellors available, who will be offering person-centred LGBT affirmative therapy. Due to the current situation with COVID-19, Birmingham LGBT Centre is not open to the public – however appointments can be held via Zoom, Skype, or telephone. Full details are available on the website at www.blgbt.org or for more information or to book an appointment please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as enabling the organisation to offer the counselling services over the next 6 months, the funding will also contribute towards essential core costs of running and staffing the centre. Like all charities, Birmingham LGBT has been hit hard by the pandemic, losing income from training, room hire and events. Anyone wishing to make a donation to the centre and the valuable work it does for the LGBT community can find out more on the website at www.blgbt.org/donate/.