Lily’s Kitchen is launching a ‘Walk & Talk’ service this summer to support LGBTQ+ communities during Pride month and beyond. As part of its new ongoing partnership with MindOut, a Brighton-based mental health service run specifically for, and by, LGBTQ+ communities, Lily’s Kitchen will help pet parents from the communities come together to connect through their love of four-legged friends.

The new mental health support intervention will encourage LGBTQ+ folks to come together in nature, and if they wish, to talk about their mental health and wellbeing. The walks will be attended by MindOut service users, with support from the charity’s staff, and frontline volunteers, with the aim to;

Provide an activity-based peer support opportunity
Reduce social isolation and increase confidence
Increase connection to the local community and LGBTQ+ communities
Improve wellbeing through being ‘outdoors’ and in nature and by physical exercise
Improve mood and wellbeing through interaction with dogs[1]
Most importantly, the Walk & Talk service is an opportunity for beloved MindOut champions to #MindOutForEachOther for LGBTQ+ mental health.

The initiative, as well as other vital support services offered by the charity, will be funded through sales of the Lily’s Kitchen new Limited-Edition Love & Pride recipes for dogs and cats, 100% of profits* from which will be donated to MindOut.

The positive impact our four-legged friends have on mental health is well documented – a recent study even showed that 71% of pet owners report feeling happier because of their pets[2]. What’s more, new insights from the Lily’s Kitchen ‘Pride Pack’ – a panel of dedicated LGBTQ+ pet owners – found this to be even more poignant for pet parents from communities, who say that pets provide them with – often much needed – unconditional, unprejudiced love.

With research revealing that over 80% of LGBTQ+ pet parents felt closer to their pet than some members of their family, and three quarters feeling their pet has helped them get through LGBTQ+-related stressors (including anxiety, rejection, bias discrimination and microaggressions from family and peers)[3], it is hoped that engaging with the communities through their beloved pets will help MindOut reach even more people in need of support than ever before.

The first Walk & Talk will be held on 23rd July in Brighton. Those hoping to attend should register their interest by emailing enquiries@mindout.org.uk.

Erica Thornton, interim CEO, MindOut, says: “We’re thrilled to be launching our new ‘Walk & Talk’ service this summer as part of our mental health support interventions and funded by Lily’s Kitchen.

“We know from speaking with our service users that feelings of isolation and a lack of confidence are all too common factors experienced among the LGBTQ+ communities we support, but we also know what a support line pets can be for people feeling this way. They provide unconditional love and are true companions. So, our hope is that by providing a safe, supported environment people can connect with fellow LGBTQ+ pet parents and improve their wellbeing by being outdoors in nature with their furry friend.”

Samantha Crossley, Marketing Director at Lily’s Kitchen, says: “Pets love us for who we are, wholeheartedly and unconditionally. Our society is made richer by its wonderfully diverse community and we believe that all differences should be celebrated. In the same way a pet loves their owner with pride and without prejudice, we want to share this message of limitless love and support a cause close to our hearts. That’s why we’ve launched our Limited-Edition Love & Pride recipes for dogs and cats and are donating 100% of profits to MindOut to help support LGBTQ+ communities.”

No matter what we wear, look like or who we love, our pets will cherish us unconditionally, always. And what better way to show your furry friend love in return than with a wholesome meal bursting with nature’s delights?

For your extra special pooch, the mouth-watering Lily’s Kitchen Love & Pride recipe includes fresh beef with a positive rainbow of fruit and veg, including vibrant carrots, juicy apples and yummy green beans. And for the fabulous felines out there, a delectably smooth grain-free paté made with succulent chicken and responsibly soured fish is on the menu.

Head over to lilyskitchen.co.uk to pick up the Limited-Edition Dog Tin, 400g RRP £3.70 and Cat Tray, 85g RRP £1.25. Also available to buy at Pets at Home, Ocado and independent stockists.