Community News & Features Online events during lockdown - ways to keep connected National lockdown is back for the third time in the UK. Coronavirus cases have surged, and everyone living in Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland finds themselves unable to leave home for anything but necessary journeys. Click here for information on when you're allowed to leave home, and what you can do during the current lockdown. We've been here before, and may be here again before our social spaces return in any recognisable form. The government has said that the current lockdown will last for at least six weeks, but may potentially last longer, which is why it's important for us all to make plans for our wellbeing. Living without contact with our friends, neighbours, relatives, and other social circles is tough. More so when we've living that way for months on end. As we enter this Tier 5 lockdown it's important to nurture our mental wellbeing and that includes keeping ourselves socially active. That's why we've compiled this list of online group activities that are being facilitated by different LGBTQ+ organisations across the UK. Staying indoors shouldn't mean staying alone, and with the help of others within our community, we can make the coming weeks and months easier on our minds. The list is by no means exhaustive, but does provide a smattering of what's on offer. Fridays for over 50s Fancy having a cuppa with other LGBTQ+ people over 50? Opening Doors has you covered. It’s still running its Friday morning socials virtually, alongside a host of other events including a film club, trans and non-binary group, and even groups for carers. Pooch Pride Everyone loves dogs, right? If you’re an LGBTQ+ person with a furry friend, then Birmingham LGBT’s Rainbow Pooch Pride meetup could be just the ticket. Every Friday poochie parents get together for a chin (and tail) wag over Zoom. Birmingham LGBT is also running a host of other meetups online, including a Dungeons and Dragons group, a social for Asylum seekers, and even a full-on theatre group. Check out their full offering here. LBT CrafterZoom Soothing activities are just what the doctor ordered, which is why London Friend’s LBT Crafternoon is a great way to make some friends while flexing those creative muscles. London Friend has migrated a number of its other groups online, including Mattrix - a group for gay and bi men, and T on Tuesday - for trans and non-binary people. It’s also created a new Lockdown Remedy Support Group, which offers support to manage your mental health and wellbeing with other LGBTQ people. Queer House Party It’s been almost a year since we’ve gone clubbing, but that should stop us from having a knees-up with our community. Enter Queer House Party - “the award-winning virtual LGBTIQ+ party that brings you the best drag, performers, and DJs from London and beyond all in an accessible online community space.” Not only is the music a divine and eclectic mix of genres and styles, but the organisers place an emphasis on making the space inclusive for trans and racialised people, as well as those with disabilities. Online Community Centre The Outside Project has moved its London-based community centre online, with a host of events for queer people to enjoy. The schedule includes Cafe Queero, The Queer Youth Art Collective, and Queer House Party (see above entry). It’s open 365 so you can drop in and say hello any time you like. Me. Him. Us hangouts Me. Him. Us. Hangouts is a free online peer support group for gay, bisexual or trans men from Black, South Asian and other minority ethnic groups who live, work or socialise in London. It's a space to chat, to think and to reflect away from mainstream queer culture. Each session has a different focus, from music and culture, to mental health and social issues. You can find the session that's right for you and talk to like-minded people, makes new friends and learn something new. Queers Without Beers Looking for social buzz of online drinks without the alcohol? Queers without Beers is a meetup focused on socialising rather than getting tipsy. The group is running alcohol-free socials online during lockdown. You can find more information and updates on their Facebook page. You may recognise regular OutLife Contributor Scott (@proudandsober) as one of the wonderful hosts. Get some wellbeing support MindOut is an LGBTQ+ mental health service that is running online groups for people during lockdown. This includes a wellbeing support group that offers an “opportunity to share experiences and coping strategies about a range of topics e.g. managing isolation and loneliness, managing Covid-19 restrictions, suicidal thoughts, gender identity, getting older, managing on a low income and many other themes that impact on mental health and wellbeing.” In addition to its Wellbeing Support Group, Mindout is hosting a cluster of other groups targeting specific mental health topics or designed for specific groups. Find more information here. Quiz Club It’s a tried and tested format of the pandemic: the online quiz. Thankfully it’s one of the games that works perfectly via Zoom, and what better to add to the mix than other wonderful LGBTQ+ folks. The event is hosted by LGBT Foundation, which is also running a calendar of online events including a book club, and “Mend it Club” where folks fix clothes. Could these be more wholesome? And all the rest The above are just a small sample of events from registered charities and partners, but there is a whole wide web of queer online events to explore. A great place to start is Meetup.com, which has hosts hundreds of LGBTQ+ clubs and societies based in the UK.