Transgender charity Mermaids reveals earnings from training NHS and educators have soared

The Tavistock Centre - Peter Nicholls/Reuters
The Tavistock Centre - Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Mermaids, the controversial transgender charity, delivered more than double the number of training sessions to bodies including NHS trusts and schools in 2022, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

The scandal-hit transgender charity put on 329 individual training sessions, reaching more than 5,000 people, for the year ending March 2022 compared with 143 for the same period in 2021.

The income from these courses also increased, jumping from £59,546 to £151,246. In its most recent accounts, Mermaids said it had provided "awareness training to many organisations from the NHS, schools, colleges and universities as well as other public bodies, professionals, and corporate businesses".

In 2020/21, the charity delivered 59 training sessions at schools, 10 at NHS trusts, 11 at fostering agencies and two to police forces.

No such breakdown was available for 2022.

Scrapped at NHS trust

It said the income generated from training certain organisations "supplements training to support trans YP [young people] when little or no budget is available, as is often the case in schools".

It comes days after training by the charity was scrapped at the NHS trust replacing the Tavistock clinic following concerns highlighted by this paper.

The charity was due to run training sessions for staff at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), starting in January, despite being under investigation by the regulator.

The trust is taking over specialist mental health support for children questioning their gender identity as part of two regional services this spring to replace the Tavistock, which was deemed “not safe” and shut down.

Mermaids’ influence on the Tavistock was cited by some whistle-blowers as one of the reasons why it lost its way, with claims that activists put pressure on clinicians to affirm children’s belief that they were trans and to prescribe potentially life-altering drugs.

‘Completely different approach’

Medics who blew the whistle on Tavistock said that the trans charity’s involvement with SLaM was a cause for “concern” and that previous training had been “inaccurate and misleading”. They called for a “completely different approach” at the new NHS service.

The trust proceeded to scrap the Mermaids sessions, which cover transitioning, identity and treatment pathways.

Mermaids is at the centre of several safeguarding rows and the Charity Commission is carrying out a statutory inquiry amid concerns over its governance and management.

Mermaids was approached for comment on Monday night.