Life has changed for the better for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people in Fife in the last two years.
Fife Pride, first staged in 2017, has helped give youngsters a voice in rural communities where, before, they often felt isolated.
And thanks to Pink Saltire, groups have also been set up to allow the LBGT community to network across the Kingdom.
The human rights charity first came to the fore here back in 2016 when the charity commissioned a series of short documentaries, including a film about LGBT people living in rural communities in Fife.
Now Pink Saltire plans to build on the success of that initial project.
The group has received an £88,000 award from the Big Lottery Fund’s Young Start group to make it a reality.
In the next three years, Through the Lens will bring together young people aged from 13 to 21 in Fife, Dundee and Glasgow.
Focusing on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people living in those areas, film-making workshops will enable the youngsters to create three new short films each year.
Stuart Duffy, Pink Saltire founder, said: “It will be up to the young people themselves whether they create a work of fiction or a documentary.
“They will learn a lot of new skills along the way, firstly working out the storyboards for each film before specialising in editing, props etc.
“But these films will also give young people a voice which will be heard across the globe.”
Through the Lens will launch next month and already 20 youngsters are eager to take part in Fife, with scope for even more to join them.
Stuart said: “We want to work with 40 to 50 young people in each area.
“We’ll be bringing in professionals from creative industries across the country to share their knowledge and experience.
“They will then support the young people to produce an original short film about an issue which affects their own lives.
“Each of the groups in Fife, Dundee and Glasgow will work on their own project so we’ll end up with three films each year.
“It’s a great opportunity for young people to learn from people who are working in the industry.
“Participants can take part in one film or all three; we’d be delighted if they stay the course, though, as we could see their progression over the three years.”
The groups will work on productions from February to May, allowing the finished films to be promoted at Pride events across the country, of which there is now a growing number.
Stuart said: “In 2017, there were only four Pride events in Scotland. Last year, we helped to facilitate 13.
“We want to promote the films at these events, before posting them on our social media outlets.
“In 2017/18, our sites had hits from more than 100 countries, with 1.4 million impressions so these films will be viewed globally.
“From August to December, we’d then like to tour the films round schools and community groups, before work starts on the next film in February again.”
It is hoped that working together with other LGBT youngsters will further reduce the isolation felt by many in the community.
Stuart said: “There are signs of real change here in Fife thanks to events like Pride which have helped to bring communities together.
“Pride has shown people that their family, friends and work colleagues – people they interact with every day – are LGBT.
“Sadly, though, people still face discrimination and hate crimes, both here in Fife and all over the country.
“Hopefully, the nine films created in the next three years will help open people’s eyes to some of the issues LGBT young people face every day.”
Stuart founded Pink Saltire in Edinburgh in 2014, with the aim of giving the LGBT community a voice.
He spent a year working with other groups, like Stonewall, to source gaps in resources and support.
When he moved to Fife in 2015, opening an office in Kirkcaldy, he held an awards ceremony to guage interest. It was a huge success.
The charity now operates a weekly LGBT social group in Cowdenbeath.
Councillor Julie Ford, depute Provost for Fife, said: “Pink Saltire has done so much to assist in promoting equality for the LGBT community here. This new project is only going to push that even further forward.”
Those interested in joining the project can call the Pink Saltire office on 01592 645340, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/pinksaltire.