A woman has launched a charity to provide a support system for Muslim people in the LGBTQ+ community.

Natasha Shah, 40, founded Purple Souls in November last year after a relative came out as transgender but faced challenges.

Recognising the lack of support for many LGBTQ+ individuals within the Muslim community, the charity aims to break the cycle of discrimination through support groups and building connections with other allies.

Natasha said: “There are people out there that need us but are obviously scared to come out, and there isn’t that safety for people in both communities.

"We want people to know that it’s safe to reach out to us and we will listen and understand.

“There are a lot of children and young people in Lancashire that don’t have support at home.

"Like many religions, some Muslims use the Quran to discriminate but nowhere does it actually say that.

"Hate breeds from hate and as a child you just follow your parent’s opinions so we need to break that cycle by raising awareness and educating and just being supportive.”

Natasha runs vacation therapy days which are days trips where groups can learn about each other, gain friendships and build strong connections and also runs a drop in session at Blackburn Rovers community hub every Wednesday.

The charity doesn’t just provide people with support related to sexuality and gender and religion.

Since launching, Purple Souls has helped many individuals who have been ousted by their families navigate systems like immigration apps, find housing, create CVs, and secure job interviews.

Despite the charity’s positive results, Natasha is subject to a lot of negative comments on a regular basis.

Describing the challenges running the charity causes, Natasha said: “I get quite a lot of hate emails from people who think what I’m doing is evil.

"People have accused me of doing work for Satan so it’s clear how much work we need to do.

“I don’t get any funding at the moment and we’re just run on volunteers but if we don’t do this, no one will so it’s important to keep raising awareness and not let hate stop you.”