Outhouse East started in December 1979 as a one-night a week helpline from 7-9pm, hosted in the house of one of our volunteers. The demand was so high that only 6 months later we extended it to 9:30pm, and eventually to 10pm.
The founding of the Colchester Gay Switchboard (as we were known back then) was linked to the Colchester Branch of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (C.H.E.), considered one of the oldest gay rights organisations in the UK. Alongside the Gay Liferation Front (G.L.F.), they were the two main gay rights organisations in the 1970s.
In June 1980, ColCHEster (C.H.E. branch in Colchester) magazine published a lengthy article on the progress of the Colchester Gay Switchboard.
Soon enough, we established our first Centre on Queen Street in Colchester, where we started having Saturday morning drop-in socials. It became popular for its friendly atmosphere, cheap coffee and bacon sandwiches.
In the 90s, we were donated building no. 19 on East Hill as our permanent premise. We've stayed there ever since, continuing to support the LGBT community in East Anglia, and continuing to campaign for the betterment of their welfare, mental health and relationships.