Our charity was founded in 2016 as an unregistered organization called TimeOut York. A small group of people had been working in different ways with asylum and refugee charities. Alongside this they were involved in fundraising to support LGBT+ rights in countries like Uganda (where David Kato, a leading activist who had studied in York, was murdered in 2011). It became apparent that many of the general refugee and asylum support organizations in the UK had limited awareness of the needs of the people who were claiming asylum on the grounds of their sexuality or gender identity.

LGBT+ asylum seekers face many challenges: questions about the asylum process; lack of opportunities to meet other people; fear of being ‘outed’ in their shared Home Office accommodation and thereby being exposed to hostility or attack. We decided to focus on supporting this community.


We began by organizing social events and day trips to York and the seaside, enabling LGBT+ asylum seekers to meet each other, to break down their isolation and to develop friendships and mutual support networks. This evolved naturally into: helping to explain the legal pathway; offering an opportunity for individuals to tell their story in a safe environment; supporting individual cases; linking to legal counsel and medical help; providing financial support in cases of emergency or destitution.

Since the organization was growing, and we were supporting asylum seekers across the north of England, we decided to apply for, and were granted, official charitable status in June 2019 under our new name Time to be Out.

Since then, we have expanded our activities further to include online befriending, social groups and individual English lessons.