'Heartbroken' LGBT+ youth club leader says members are too scared to return after homophobic abuse

The leader of an LGBT+ youth club in North Wales has been left "heartbroken" after members say homophobic abuse has forced them to quit.

Club members have reported incidences of verbal abuse to North Wales Police and one member was attacked in July 2019.

North Wales Police say they are continuing to deal with the problem and a 13 year-old boy has been arrested for the July attack.

Aled Griffiths, who started the club in 2017, held an urgent meeting on Wednesday 11 to address the recent reports of abuse directed at some of their members.

North Wales Police and representatives for the Children's Commissioner of Wales attended the meeting along with Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams.

The youth club has more than 150 members.

Mr Griffiths said the meeting was called to address the "tension and hostility" he claims members of their group are receiving from some members of the community.

The club was founded by Mr Griffiths to offer young LGBT+ people a place where they can feel "a part of something".

Mr Griffiths says that the fact some members have now said they are too scared to return to the club "really broke [his] heart".

Aled Griffiths started the club which is based in a charity-run cafe in Caernarfon.

At times like this, we don't retreat, we shouldn't have to retreat. And I want them to be able to look and see that we do have a voice, and that people are willing to listen. But it's not just younger people that are feeling scared, older people are feeling scared too. The whole community is feeling scared. I want different organisations to come together, start a core group and look at the situation for LGBT people in Gwynedd. See what we can do, see what education can do and make others realise that we are just like everybody else. >

Aled Griffiths, Club Founder

Sgt Non Edwards from North Wales Police says "We'll continue to work to deal with problems, but we need people to work with us in partnership. We don't have any more police officers, so education is the key as well."