St Annes business owner makes shop a 'safe space' for LGBT youngsters to get advice on coming out

A shop in St Annes has become a mental health haven and safe space for LGBT youngsters to ‘come out’ after the owner realised there was a lack of gay-friendly spaces for under 18s.

By Lucinda Herbert
Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 3:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 3:41 pm

Within months of opening Pot Bound, Izzy Durose, 21, realised that as well as selling stuff, she could use her shop to help give advice to young LGBT people.

The shop on St Andrews Road South opened in May 2021 and sells plants, hand-painted pots, and work by Fylde artists.

Izzy said: “I’ve had at least six young people come out to me, and it became so clear that this space is really vital. People really open up to me. As it’s just me and my girlfriend here, and we share our own stories, they feel it’s a really safe environment.”

Izzy Durose, 21, owns Pot Bound and has made it a 'safe space' for the LGBT community

The former B&FC student came out as gay at 17. She said her family and friends were very supportive, but other young people aren’t as lucky.

She added: “Coming out [as gay] can be very isolating and confusing for some people, so it’s really important that they feel they have somewhere to turn. There didn’t seem to be any LGBT spaces other than nightclubs and bars, which is no use to people under 18 or who don’t want to drink.”

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A ‘Protect Trans Youth’ window painting and rainbow doormat are subtle indicators of a welcoming space.

Izzy Durose, 21, infront of a selection of her hand-painted plant pots

But Izzy’s reputation as the Fylde Coast’s LGBT agony aunt has spread by word of mouth.

“I want people to feel they can come and have those conversations with someone who gets it, and know they won’t be judged or mocked. Also, it can be easier to talk to a stranger, without that fear that I might tell their parents so it’s a really safe environment.”

The young entrepreneur said that community and helping people with their mental health are a big part of what makes her tick.

Izzy had planned to go to university, but decided on a different path during lockdown. She’d been struggling with mental health and found houseplants helped her to heal.

Izzy Durose, owner of Pot Bound on St Andrews Rd South, St Annes

Her own experience with counselling and therapy has enabled her to support others.

“So many LGBT people suffer with mental health so we really need more spaces like this.”