Brighton Lives

We ❤️ Brighton Heroes: The Clare Project

The Clare Project was originally formed in 2000, and since then has provided a safe space for the Brighton trans community. Their core service is a weekly drop-in session at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church where trans people can seek advice and support, as well as low-cost psychotherapy.

In a caustic world where leaders like Donald Trump are seeking to abolish the basic fundamental rights of transgender people, organisations like The Clare Project are crucial for maintaining compassion and harmony.

Dr Sam Hall is a trans man with five children working as a GP in Brighton. Since attending a session in 2012, he’s helped The Clare Group become recognised as a charity and has big hopes for the role they can play for trans rights and health in Brighton and beyond.

In advance of the Trans Day Of Remembrance (20th November) we spoke to Sam about the work Clare Project do, the complexity of trans healthcare, and how the workplace can embrace the rights of transgender people.

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Hey Sam! How did The Clare Project start

The Clare Project originated in a beauty salon [Shadi Danin] where the beautician was doing electrolysis for a number of transgender women. She introduced them to one another and it became a meeting space. The early organisers were intent on having mental health support because the impact of being trans in today’s society on one’s mental health can be huge. So they got a grant early to provide mental health support and it ran from there. It moved to Dorset Gardens church and has been running since then as a weekly drop-in.

What does your drop-in service entail?

It’s very loose and a facilitated drop in service on Tuesday afternoons. They tend to be visited by the most vulnerable: trans women, that get abused in the street and can’t work because no-one will employ them.

We get first-timers attendees arriving, saying that they can’t live their life as a male anymore. Sometimes they’ll actually go and change clothes and become their real selves. That’s very powerful There’s also very low cost psychotherapy for those that want it.

What are the primary issues attendees report?

The Clare Project has traditionally supported trans women more than anyone else because they tend to be most vulnerable. They’re generally more noticeable, often with facial hair, bigger hands, deeper voices. It’s so difficult to be seen as who they are. So many people make the transgender issue around genitals but the average transgender experience is so little about genitals: it’s about how other people see you.

How can you help these people increase their confidence?

We try and encourage them to get involved with volunteering with us, so they’re a bit more visible but in a safe way. It’s about capacity building in the community.

You mentioned about trans women’s problems with employment. This must surely be affected by this?

Absolutely. One thing that really frustrates me is there’s so many trans people with skills that don’t get utilized because people don’t employ them. They can live very small lives and that’s such a shame.

What more can businesses do to help?

We’ve found a real willingness to engage from the business sector. The main problem is a lack of information and/or education. Stuff like why access to the right bathrooms are important. Why it’s important to use the right pronoun when addressing people. People are scared to make a mistake, so often it’s simply a case of educating them. Brighton is, without doubt, the best UK city for advocating trans rights, where private and small business sectors are jumping onboard with us.

And the council has been supportive?

What we have in Brighton and Hove is relatively unique. We have a history of public and statutory bodies engaging with and championing the cause of trans people. The council did some exemplary work in 2015, producing a needs assessment for trans people; that was the first of its kind in this country, engaging the trans community in the way they do other minorities. We’re also feeling increasingly supported by Sussex Police.

As a GP, you must have a passion for trans health?

Yes. Health care provisions for trans people are third world in comparison to people that aren’t. Many GPs will refuse to treat trans people, citing a lack of knowledge or the fact they don’t think it’s right. There’s inherent transphobia in the system that makes access difficult. The few specialist clinics that are available have extremely long waiting lists. It’s hugely complex.

Take one issue i experienced: I was born with a female body but identified as male and was walking about as a man, but then needed to go and have a smear test! Imagine how that must feel? That’s just one example.

How has your transition shaped your view of gender roles?

We’re addicted to gender roles and we’re addicted to misogyny. It was fine for me: I got handed white male privilege on a plate! It’s frightening to experience both sides so I’m obliged to fight against it as I can see very clearly it’s not healthy to the human race.

What do you seen in the future for The Clare Project?

I see us as a sizable charity with a political voice, as well as delivering much-needed health and social care for trans people. I hope in future we will be committed by the NHS to provide services.

You guys are great, thanks Sam!

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Check our previous entries in our ‘We ❤️ Brighton Heroes’ series

PLATF9RM Culture: Why Beer O’Clock Was The Ultimate PLATF9RM Collaboration

We’ve been talking an awful lot about our PLATF9RM beer recently. In case you hadn’t heard– it’s called Beer O’Clock and brewed by the very good boys at Bison Beer.

As well as the fact that each can is 330ml of crisp, hoppy loveliness, this beer makes us happy because it's the ultimate PLATF9RM member collaboration: a five-pronged partnership between us, Bison Beer, Lucy Sherston (who drew the illustration), Myles Lucas (typesetting and design) and David Hillier (copy). We think it represents everything we’re about. And it’s beer! Two giant wins.

To give an insight into how we made this collab happen – and how brilliance comes through creative minds working together – we asked everyone involved to give us a brief rundown of their role in the project.

Emilie Lashmar – PLATF9RM Creative Director

Bison Beer have been one of our longest members at Hove Town Hall and everyone loves drinking their beers on Fridays and at the Socials. I’ve wanted to collaborate with them for ages but, as is often the way, it took a while to come to fruition.

I’ve been following Lucy’s work for so long and have always thought she’s super-talented. Supporting brilliant local artists and bringing them into the PLATF9RM family is one of my absolute favourite bits of my job! She’s painted murals in most of our meeting rooms and I now can’t imagine those rooms looking any differently. I’m happy to say the same for Beer O’Clock.

I asked Myles and David to be involved because we’ve worked together before. This project is quite unique and it was vital we used people who understood PLATF9RM and what we’re about; they definitely did that! (It probably helps they both like beer more than me! Shh, don’t tell the Bison boys.) Overall, I think everything worked out deliciously...

Jack Cregan – Bison Beer – Co-Founder

When PLATF9RM said they wanted to create a beer together we knew it was going to be fun. We’ve been hanging out (occasionally working) at PLATF9RM for a while now, and always looked forward to beer o’clock on Fridays. We’ve made sure the beers are good and cold by installing fridges (shout out to the sods that keep unplugging Tower Point’s to turn on the toaster) and were excited to watch the creative process unfold. The final product tastes great (if we do say so ourselves) and the label captures what working here is all about: colourful, fun, by the seaside and surrounded by dogs!

As if this collaboration couldn’t get anymore ultimate - these photos are by the wonderful    Emma Croman

As if this collaboration couldn’t get anymore ultimate - these photos are by the wonderful Emma Croman

Lucy Sherston – Artist & Illustrator

I was SO excited when I received this brief because I was able to apply my illustrations to a tangible product and collaborate with some of Brighton's finest! The brief was fairly simple: to create an image that clearly represented Brighton whilst celebrating the fun and social element of PLATF9RM . After sending a few ideas over we decided our biker gal cycling along the seafront was the way to go, with a colour palette that was bright and summery.

I'm really grateful to PLATF9RM . They have been so supportive of my work over the past few years and I think it's wonderful to have an organisation that champions local artists.

[We didn’t ask Lucy to write that last line, honest.]

David Hillier – Writer & Journalist

The original copy I filed for the back of the can was quite different. If memory serves it had a gag about how beer was the secret glue – as opposed to actual glue, arf – that kept the PLATF9RM machine running. It didn’t make the cut.

There was some to-ing and fro-ing with Myles because we realised there was too much text and it didn’t look right on the can. Eventually I kept it short, succinct and finished with a tiny flourish: “We called it Beer O’Clock ‘cos that’s our favourite time!” Easy.

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Myles Lucas – Graphic Designer

Having previously designed a few things for Platf9rm, I was asked to design the beer can using Lucy Sherston’s great illustration.

I had to make the typography bold and interesting. It couldn’t detract from the illustration and had ensure all the text was legible over all the different colours. I think we managed it! Knowing that I did the typography and was part of this project makes that beer taste even better…

Member of the Week - Natalie Rockall

Introducing Natalie Rockall, freelance email marketing specialist and cinephile, who's longing to travel.

Hi Natalie! Can you tell us a little about yourself and Eleven11 Digital?

I'm a freelance email marketing specialist. I've lived in Hove for 6 years and I've been a member of PLATF9RM Hove since it opened. Oh... and I'm also an email geek!

What does being an email marketing specialist involve?

I help blue chip companies and small independent business owners boost their results from their email marketing. I do a mixture of contract work and project work across the UK and have a couple of clients abroad. I love training people in email marketing and helping them reach their goal quicker, easier, and with less stress.

I'm going to ask a really obvious question... How did GDPR effect you?

There was a massive amount of interest and fear around GDPR. I did a talk at Tower point with some other members to a full room so it was obviously really important for the PLATF9RM community. I spent a couple of months working on a dedicated basis with one client to work through their GDPR preparations. That was a really in-depth project. It was such a busy time that post 25th May I booked in a much needed post GDPR holiday!


So who are you away from work?

Sadly I do still live and breath emails. I am an email geek. Outside of email, I love the cinema, I have a Cineworld membership so I go all the time. I really enjoy travelling which I want to do more and more of that now that I'm freelance.

When setting up my business I knew I needed freedom, flexibility and variety so I knew the freelance way of working would suit me down to the ground. As long as I have my laptop and wifi I can work anywhere. I did a test run in my friend's Spanish villa in the mountains and it worked a treat!

So what's coming up next for you in the world of email marketing?

I'm delivering some training for Econsultancy, judging at the Dotmailer Dotties Email Marketing Awards in October and I'm working on creating an online course for email marketing so people can take the opportunity to learn the in's and out's of email in their own time. Watch this space! Email is always changing (the technology side particularly) so I'm always looking for new ways to help people.

Tell us more about your love of travelling - where's your favourite place?

My favourite place that I've been to so far has to be the Maldives - a friend worked in the travel industry and got me an amazing deal through work. We were very fortunate to stay in a water bungalow right over the sea. Next on the wish list is to go to Japan - I've been looking at tours which go around spring time so you can see the amazing cherry blossom. My go-to destination is Barcelona, I try to go there a couple of times per year because I feel it's my second home.

Where do you get inspiration from?

If i'm looking for inspiration and to get my creative juices going there is nothing worse than staring at a blank screen at the desk in my lounge so I get myself out of the house and to the beach in Hove, or a cafe to people watch or of course to PLATF9RM! I love to mix up my work with where I feel like being on that day - this freedom to change things up means things stay energised and fresh.

Do you have a special memory from childhood you'd like to share?

So my favourite thing for my friends and I to do was to set up shop outside my house. We'd sell our old toys, biscuits (that we'd nabbed from home) and 'perfume' which was really just water with flowers stuffed in it. It's probably the start of my entrepreneurial journey.

What drew you to PLATF9RM?

I thought I wanted to work from home, but when I started to do that I realised I miss being around people and that I actually get quite a lot of energy from being around like minded people. I knew PLATF9RM Hove was opening so I waited to come along for a trial and loved it from day one! There are dogs, lots of tea and lots of people I've meet who've become friends and who I've actually done work for. It's a great source of business for me and for inspiration and new ideas.

I'm also lucky to be part of the community and to work with PLATF9RM on their email marketing and business plans. It's such an interesting business to have a bit of sight behind the scenes!

Now for the serious question: who's your favourite dog?

KIPPER!! But they are all soooo cute. I do get withdrawal symptoms when I'm not in for a few days.

Thank you Natalie!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.

"The Internet Is In Our Blood.” A Guide To Generation Z, by 18-year-old CEO Brandon Relph

By 2019 Generation Z will comprise 32% of the world’s population. This data, published by Bloomberg, classified a Gen Z member as anyone born after 2000. If you’re a business that wants to engage those 18 and under, you’d better act fast if you don’t want to seem as medieval as a MiniDisc.

For those hoping to unpick the minds of Gen Z, there’s no better person than the Eastbourne-based Brandon Relph. Brandon is 18 and CEO of his company Internet Ready, who consult on and devise Generation Z-focused internet marketing strategies. He became the world’s youngest CEO – a title he no longer holds – at just 13-years-old after launching the Minecraft-based business goCreative.

Five years later he spends most of his days helping Fortune 100 companies drag their feet out of the past. Added to that, he’s an international speaker and was once described as “awesome” by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Speaking to Brandon, perhaps surprisingly, will make you feel both old and scornful of the painfully childish whims of your own 18-year-old self. We caught up with him to discover everything you need to know about Generation Z.


Hey Brandon. What’s the main difference between millennials and Generation Z?

Millennials changed the world but Gen Z are changing it again. The main thing is that we grew up with the internet. It’s in our blood. It changed how we see the world.


Has growing up behind a computer affected your attitude to work?

It’s hard to say but we definitely prefer to work independently. We’re less interested in collaborating. I think we like our own space because we’re used to having it. We can connect on the internet rather than sitting in the same room!



We read a lot about Gen Z being more mindful than those before. How does that play out?

We’re much more careful with money and thoughtful about how much things cost. We are a lot more savvy around brands and where we put our money. Millennials were quite oblivious to when they’re being marketed to but we’re very, very aware. When we become adults we’ll have the highest buying power of any generation, so we’ll have all the money but we’ll spend it wisely.

What about careers?

We want accelerated careers. We want to just get on with our thing. We don’t want to go in at low-level jobs.

How do you channel that though? Everyone has to start somewhere.

The world is still working out how to adapt but I think there’ll be a lot of smaller firms. A lot of individuals and freelancers to make a web of talent rather than just having pure bureaucratic companies. 

How important will the culture of an company or employer be?

We’ll want something that constantly stimulates our minds. Rather than just going in and doing one job we’ll want to go in, have three different jobs and just get on with it. 

How important is “constant stimulation” in marketing?

We need to have our attention grabbed quickly and kept consistently. Marketing needs to be fast marketing rather than slow. You need to create a different mindset around the brand. Rather than just one advert you need multiple adverts and to build a brand, rather than just sell a single product.

Who is good at this?

The bigger companies are being quite successful because they’re building brands first and products after. Take Apple: they are really good at sustainability and that means a lot to us.

Who are Gen Z icons?

Increasingly I think it’s Influencers. We’ve moved away from mainstream celebrities to people that we can connect and relate with: you can see Influencers more as friends than just people on the TV. Through vlogging and other ways you can understand what they represent. They’ll do meet-ups. It’s all about connection and it’s why influencer marketing is so effective. Influencers also value their audience as people: they could sell something dodgy and perhaps get away with it, but it would harm them brand and con people they have a relationship with. They’re very mindful of this.

Who’s a big Influencer we should know?

There’s a Youtuber called Shane Dawson. He’s had a lot of success and people see him as a stable and interesting guy. 

Are there any bad brands for Gen Z?

Our generation don’t use Facebook much. Personally I don’t use Facebook. It’s a product for older people. It’s slow, it’s boring. Also, they collect loads of data. Less is more when it comes to data. We hugely value our privacy.  Sometimes I have firms say they want to tun a Facebook campaign aimed at Gen Z and I tell them not to bother!

Finally. Is all progress good progress good for Generation Z? Is there no sense of holding onto traditions or do we just speed up the world and make it as effective as possible?

I think we’ve come into a world where we are taught to fast and and effective. We’re the most connected generation ever because we have the internet and lots of our relationships are built over the internet. We’re also very conscious of everybody. We think the greater good is most important and we're less scared of monopolies. You know, people worry about Amazon having a monopoly. We care about companies that care for people.

Us too. Thanks Brandon!

Pop along to our event ‘PLATF9RM Presents: What Is The Future Of Work For Generation Z’, to hear more on what Brandon has to say, along with Daisy Cresswell and Lola Ray from Brighton5 and Declan Cassidy from Maker Club.