Helping Others to Help Yourself
Published: 03 June 2019 Tags: By James Harris
Volunteers' Week (1-7 June) is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It’s also a volunteer’s opportunity to say thank you in return.
There is a wide variety of volunteering opportunities available at LGBT Foundation, different roles for different kinds of people with different things to offer. Volunteering is a reciprocal relationship, beneficial to the volunteer as well as the cause they’re volunteering for.
A few of our volunteers share how the experience has benefited them:
Paul – Helpline/Reception Volunteer
“I got into volunteering by accessing LGBT Foundation services. I came here in crisis, and had an assessment and was given a crisis plan, then referred to a Support Worker. They then suggested volunteering once I got myself settled in the area.
I feel welcome, accepted as part of a team, and treated equally to paid staff. It has added to my confidence and self-esteem as an older gay man and as a human being, and given me the belief that it’s never too late to either come out or offer yourself and your experience to help others.
If people are thinking of volunteering at LGBT Foundation, I’d say just do it! There’s no harm in asking, and there’s no obligation to follow through on anything if you change your mind.”
Faye – Reception/Events Volunteer
“As a BAME person who also identifies as LGBT, there have always been cultural clashes with family and friends. I never forgot the feeling of being truly accepted for who I was when I first started volunteering at LGBT Foundation. Being in the organisation with allies and people who were unashamedly themselves helped me to build acceptance for myself, and I’ll always be very grateful to LGBT Foundation for being there.
Volunteering at LGBT Foundation gave me the opportunity to develop my skills, but also to meet lots of different people. My role was really varied, and it was great to be around like-minded individuals who believe in the same cause, and to be part of an organisation that encourages people to reach their potential. This kind of environment is a safe space – I think that’s one of the best things about volunteering here."
James – Communications Volunteer
“I loved to write, but the reach of my writing was limited. I had potential, but struggled to find the means of fulfilling it. I had something to offer, but lacked ways of giving it. So when I asked LGBT Foundation if they had a writing-based volunteer role, just when they needed someone to help write content for a recently relaunched Outspoken, I saw a way forward open up before me. I have since written many different kinds of articles covering a wide variety of topics for the website and online bulletins, enabling me to develop a professional portfolio and gain experience that will improve my future employability.
But perhaps most importantly, LGBT Foundation provided a place in which I could be among like-minded people who understood, accepted and appreciated me for who I was. And not just because I was gay, but because I was a little detached, a little discouraged and a little lost.
If you feel you have qualities going to waste, don’t assume they’re worthless. You just haven’t yet found where they belong.”
Volunteers truly are the lifeblood of our organisation. It's no exaggeration to say that without our incredible volunteers, many of our vital services would not exist and we would not be able to reach as many people as we do.
If you have qualities you’d like to put to use or skills you’d like to develop, whether volunteering regularly or on a more casual basis, we might have a role for you: