Benefits of volunteering with LGBT Foundation
There are so many reasons to volunteer. Volunteering can help you develop your personal skills and enhance your CV. Employers are often impressed by volunteering experience, and some of our volunteers who are currently unemployed give their skills while looking for a new job.
Volunteering can help you make new friends, give something back to your local community and make a difference to people’s lives. ‘The gift of giving’, however you choose to give and regardless of how much you give, is well-documented to increase your state of happiness and mental wellbeing.
LGBT Foundation can offer you:
· A full induction including our key aims, our campaigns and services.
· Access to training opportunities
· Support from a designated volunteer supervisor, as well as a full-time Volunteer Manager who oversees the volunteer programme
· Regular social events, such as a walk in the countryside, bowling, or a karaoke night in the Manchester Gay Village
· Annual awards ceremony to celebrate all volunteer achievements
No matter how volunteers contribute their time, our volunteers change lives for the better. Without the support of the LGBT Foundation, many lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people living in Greater Manchester and beyond would be isolated, experiencing poor mental health, abusing substances, and feeling unable to come out.
We still have so many more people to reach and support; there is still so much work to do. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are still being battered and bruised because of who they love and who they are, and we won’t rest until this is no longer the case. We are only able to do this with the support of our volunteers. What difference can you make through volunteering?
Volunteers talk about their experiences
John who volunteered with us for a year told us:
“After being made redundant, I applied to volunteer so that I could contribute my skills to a good cause, stay in a regular routine and also have something to put on my CV. I was recently offered a job, and the interviewers fed back that my volunteering experience had given me extra marks on my application form.”
Alex, one of our existing volunteers told us:
“Volunteering is enabling me to rediscover myself, re-connect and build confidence. I feel so elated at achieving my potential - I wish I could bottle-up that feel good feeling.”
Another one of our volunteers, Vicky, says:
“I’d never accessed services at the Foundation before volunteering but an added bonus of being involved is that I always come away from meetings feeling positive and really relaxed which I think must be down to how nice and welcoming everyone is.”
Chris told us:
“Before starting the befriending scheme I was in crisis. I was suffering from depression and felt very isolated. I had no support network.
“I had tried to ‘come out’ to someone at work and had been received very negatively, that was tough.
“I believe the befriending programme saved me. It gave me the kind of life I wanted. There is no way I would be as stable and happy as I am without it.
“As a result I wanted to give something back. I wanted to help people like Frankie had helped me. I signed up to be a befriender and support those who had been in a similar position to me. I also help out on the Village Angels scheme and really love being part of the Foundation.”
“The biggest thing about volunteering for the Foundation is being made to feel like you're making a positive contribution whatever you're doing. When you've really struggled with your mental health and self-worth, it's hard to explain just how big an achievement that is.”
Daniel’s Story - Village Angels and Outreach
“I first started volunteering in November 2011. I wanted to meet new friends and do my bit my bit to help stop homophobia.
“I was one of the first volunteer ‘Village Angels’ and went out the very first night it launched, on Good Friday, 6 April. I decided to get involved with the Village Angels because the village is not a as safe as it used to be and a lot of people go out there. I believe the Village Angels can help them be safer.
“The best bit about the Angels is when we help someone, the worst is seeing people upset and crying – which can happen alot!
“As well as being a Village Angel I have also spoken about homophobia in schools, cheered on the Foundation's runners in the BUPA Manchester 10k and helped out with fundraising.
“I won the ‘New Volunteer of the Year’ in June 2012 as part of the Volunteer’s Week Celebrations for the work I have done for the Foundation. I feel the award is not just for me it’s on behalf of all the volunteers."
Frankie’s Story - Advice and Support
“I started volunteering for the Foundation in 2010 and I now work full-time. I’ve continued to volunteer on the Helpdesk [now called LGBT Foundation Direct] in my free time. Being president of my university's LGBT society inspired me to pursue a career in working with LGBT people.
“I started volunteering to meet new people and gain insight into Manchester's LGBT community. Taking my first helpline call was a memorable experience; nerve-wracking, but incredibly rewarding. It made me aware that it is easy to take being out and happy for granted.”
Ben’s Story - Counselling
“I currently volunteer as a Senior Counsellor; helping people to deal with specific problems or crisis, and helping people improve their relationships with others and developing better ways of living.
“I’ve volunteered with the Foundation for almost 10 years. During this time, I’ve been Chair of the Board of Trustees as well as a Counsellor.
“I joined the Foundation because I wanted to give something back to the gay community and was particularly impressed by the work of the Foundation. I initially got involved as a ‘Poster Boy’ for some of the sexual health campaigns, and I haven’t looked back since!
“Just the ability to help people carry on with their daily lives is all the motivation I need. In two or three cases my interventions have probably prevented people from committing suicide.”
Alison’s Story - Befriending
“I’ve volunteered as a befriender for a few months now. I am really enjoying being part of the befriending project and I’d recommend it really highly to others.
“It’s giving me a real opportunity to make a difference to my community, while having a lot of fun myself. This must be the only volunteering opportunity in Manchester where I get to make a difference while drinking tea and eating cake!!
Ashley’s Story - Group Programme
“I volunteer for Carousel and I enjoy the fact that I am helping others for a variety of reasons and that in particular with the Foundation that it is creating a space for individuals to be themselves.
“I like to think if I make a small increase in a person's confidence it has been worth it.”
Jamie’s Story - Office Support
“I initially volunteered in data entry, and from this have progressed onto HR-based volunteering, including reviewing all internal policies. Getting experience in this area has made me realise I’m interested in this as a career.
“I’ve always wanted to contribute to the LGB&T community, and volunteering for the Foundation has enabled me to do this as well as meeting new people.
“Doing office support volunteering has also made me aware of the level of detail involved in the Foundation's campaigns.”
If these stories have inspired you to volunteer, why not check out our current volunteering opportunities?
We welcome volunteer applications from everyone irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, faith and religion, disability and age, but, as women, ethnic minority groups, members of the trans community and religious and faith groups are currently under-represented among our volunteers, we would encourage applications from members of these groups.