A NORTHERN charity’s expansion continues at pace as it announces two key appointments.
LGBTQIA+ charity Northumberland Pride has grown significantly since it was formed in 2017, and has introduced multiple new support and advice services to its portfolio.
To help with its ongoing expansion, the charity has appointed Dan Zadeh as a link worker to engage with young people across the North East and well-respected university lecturer and human rights researcher Drew Dalton onto its board of trustees.
Born to an English mother and Iranian father, Dan had struggled with his identity for most of his life until he learned to accept himself for who he is while in rehabilitation for alcohol and drug addiction.
His spell in rehab changed his outlook on life and he started working with Sporting Chance, an alternative education provider in the North East working with children excluded from mainstream education.
Dan is currently at an advanced stage in becoming a qualified counsellor and is combining his studies with working with the region’s LGBTQIA+ young people through his new role at Northumberland Pride.
He said: “I was miserable for 30 years of my life and I never felt like I belonged to any group of society because I was bullied for my race due to my father’s background, but what I have learned is that you can change things and find self-acceptance. I feel like young people can relate to me and my experiences, and we can build strong and trusting relationships.
“I am really excited to be working with such a great charity like Northumberland Pride and supporting young people find their joy in life and accept themselves as they are, and I’m grateful for the team for taking a chance on me.”
Drew is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and the Programme Leader in Inequality and Society at the University of Sunderland, and is Founder, Chair and Chief Executive of global LGBTQIA+ human rights charity ReportOUT.
He has more than 20 years of experience working in education and with charities, with specialisms in people living with HIV, LGBTQI+ histories and supporting LGBTQI+ Muslims living in the UK.
Drew said: “In my current role as chair of trustees at ReportOUT, and with my background in managing local charities focused around LGBTQI+ issues, I’m well placed to understand the challenges faced by the third sector. I hope to bring this wealth of learning with me as a trustee to hopefully benefit Northumberland Pride.
“It’s a great honour to be part of such a growing and thriving organisation, and I hope to work with the rest of the trustees to ensure that it continues to be a success in the future.”
Northumberland Pride’s chair Darren Irvine-Duffy said: “2023 is the most exciting year for Northumberland Pride as a charity and our growth has been amazing in terms of support services we now provide and our staffing levels.
“To help us grow, we need exceptional people within the organisation and we are absolutely delighted to have Dan and Drew on board to keep building on the excellent reputation we have created over the years.
“Dan is somebody who young people can instantly relate to, and his understanding and compassion means he is a real asset to the organisation.
“Drew is one of the best connected people within the Northern LGBTQIA+ community and has travelled the globe exploring issues and trends within that world, and having his specialism on hand to lean on and learn from is something that will take the charity to the next level.”