Mermaids, a charity which supports gender-diverse and transgender children and young people has received a “massive outpouring” of support since its £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) was put under review.
On 17 December, BLF said it would review the awarding of the proposed grant to the charity after the department received correspondence “expressing both concern and support”.
CEO Susie Green told Charity Update that the charity had seen a “level of hate” cropping up on Twitter and discussion forum Mumsnet, which was “exacerbated” after the BLF announced it would review the fund. Green also said The Times had published a “derogatory” article on the charity being awarded the fund where they misgendered her daughter Jackie, just two days before the BLF made the decision to look into the grant.
The department made a statement which read: “We have received a range of correspondence in relation to a proposed grant to Mermaids, expressing both concern and support regarding this organisation. We’re grateful to those who have taken the time to write to us, and in light of the nature and volume of the communication we have received, we have decided to undertake a review of this grant.”
Green said she didn’t know how many responses the BLF had received or the nature of them, but was told a decision was unlikely to be reached before Christmas.
The £500,000 which was to be spread out over a five-year span was to be used to appoint three members of staff across the UK to set up parent and young people support groups in the areas they were most needed. The charity also hopes to work with universities to produce definitive research on transgender people and the effect it can have on them and their families.
Green said: “We’ve seen a massive outpouring of support over the last three days since the announcement was made. People have donated in excess of £6,000.
“This is not going to stop us from doing our work or looking to expand our work. We don’t know what they’re going to come back with. We are hopeful that as the application process has been so rigorous that even if they review it, we hope it goes back in our favour. If it doesn’t we will continue to expand.”