Meet our Volunteer: Jess Gilby
Published: 30 September 2016 Tags: lgbt, volunteer, womens programme By John Walding
Hi everyone, my name is Jess and I've been volunteering for the Women's Programme for about 6 months.
I came to the LGBT Foundation because I wanted to use my skills as an artist and graphic designer to support the LGBT community. Since then, I have been given the opportunity to run my own workshop on Hate Crime, to design flyers for the women's workshops and posters for the campaign, to volunteer at events such as Bi Visibility Day, the Lesbian and Bi Women & Abuse event, the open mic night and Sugar and Spice, and helped out at TransMCR. I've even been on the Village Angels and Village Haven team as a Supervisor, so it's fair to say I got stuck in!
Being able to use my skills has enabled me to get important experience as well as increasing my confidence, plus I've gained new skills in how to work with and support people in loads of different situations. All of this experience also helped me get my job as an Activities Leader at a Care Home - which I love - so I have found it beyond valuable.
As a non-binary lesbian, I used to feel hesitant about going to lesbian and bi women's events, but since volunteering for the Women's Programme I have found them inclusive and respectful of my identity, and I often leave feeling like I'm really part of something. I've made new friends and I always feel welcome in the building.
One of my favourite memories at LGBT Foundation was the lesbian and bi women's open mic night where we - the staff and volunteers - all worked together under pressure and pulled off a really impressive event that was valuable to lots of people. We all had a lot of fun that night and it was good to feel like our contribution had made a difference to the people that came along.
I'd recommend volunteering to anyone that has a bit of time to spare. Think about the skills you have (and yes, you do have some!) and what you could offer, then approach a cause that might need that. In the end, you'll probably end up having a lot of fun, meeting new people and increasing your skills and experience - if nothing else.
If you're interested in volunteering for the Women's Programme or LGBT Foundation, please email [email protected]