Working at LGBT Foundation

In 2019, we were accredited Gold Standard by Investors in People. This is only achieved by the top 2% of organisations assessed, and recognises LGBT Foundation as an industry leader in developing and supporting its people!

It's fair to say, LGBT Foundation is like unlike any other organisation in the world, and our teams tell us that working here is quite different to roles they've had before. To give you a flavour of what it's like to work here, some of our current and former colleagues share their experiences of working at LGBT Foundation below.

If you're interested in working with us, keep an eye on our job opportunities page. Many of our colleagues start their journey with us as volunteers - so why not check out our volunteering opportunities page too?

Page divider
Image of Tolu Ajayi

Tolu Ajayi

Role: QTIPoC Programme Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him

"I’ve very recently started at LGBT Foundation as the coordinator for queer, trans and intersex people of colour (QTIPoC), but it’s not my first time working with the organisation. Little known fact - my very first public act of queer activism was as part of a safer sex campaign for the then ‘Lesbian & Gay Foundation’ as the face of condom and lube packages distributed throughout venues in and around Manchester’s Gay Village. I’ve watched from afar over the years as the Foundation has adapted and moved with the communities they serve.

A decade on, I’ve arrived at my current role alongside a freelance artistry and volunteer-lead community background, celebrating platforming and advocating for fellow LGBTQI people of colour. I applied after seeing how intentional they were about actioning the work and cause I’ve been so passionate about.

Initially, I was wary of the transition from grassroots organising to a charity structure; unsure I was qualified enough and that mightn’t fit the workspace culture. On starting the role however, I've thankfully learned there’s a level of freedom here which encourages and celebrates individuality as well as community. The commitment to empowerment doesn’t stop at service users, but staff and volunteers alike – and I’m heartened to see the Foundation is committed to keep learning, growing and changing to become ever more accessible, supportive and impactful for all."

Page Divider
Image of Claudia Carvell

Claudia Carvell

Roles held: Pride in Practice Business Development Manager, Women's Programme Coordinator, Policy Officer and Volunteer (2015-2020)

Pronouns: She/Her

“I started my work with LGBT Foundation as a volunteer, writing for the then internal staff and volunteer newsletter. Wanting to get more involved, I took on a volunteer role with Women’s programme too doing outreach, content for the website and co-organising the first campaign for compulsory, age-appropriate LGBTI inclusive sex and relationship education for schools in England. Needless to say, I had a ball. When I was in the final stretch of my masters degree in Gender, Sexuality and Culture I applied for the Charityworks graduate programme, which, unbeknownst to me, LGBT Foundation was a partner of.

6 months later, in September 2015, I was starting my 12 month placement at LGBT Foundation as a Policy Officer. This role gave me the chance to work closer with the Senior Leaders, sit in national network meetings, and influence policy through consultations and research projects. 6 months in, the Women’s Programme Coordinator role became available so, knowing that was my dream job and with some encouragement from my mentor, I applied and was successful! I ran the Women’s Programme for 3 years in total, saw it through 2 successful funding bids, built the team from 1 to 6 full time and sessional staff and introduced several impactful campaigns and research projects.

By 2019 I was look for my next opportunity and was promoted to the Pride in Practice programme as the Business Development Manager. This role gave me the chance to further my understanding of the health care sector, develop my skills in training on and communicating inclusion messages, and selling the case for more inclusive practice. It was in this role that i was able to create the Training Academy and work with a range of inspiring committed professionals on the shared goal of improving the lives of LGBT people, at home, at work and in the community.

After 5 amazing years at LGBT Foundation, learning and growing and making impact wherever and whenever possible, I took my next opportunity as an Inclusion Manager for the Co-op.

Through my time at LGBT Foundation, my most valued learning was from my colleagues who brought a wealth of expertise, experience and passion. At our best, we worked collaboratively and were able to bring all of our selves to the table to make decisions and influence change.”

Page Divider
Image of Andrew Gilliver

Andrew Gilliver

Job Role: Pride in Practice Coordinator - Community Involvement

Pronouns: He/Him

"2021 is my twenty-first year with LGBT Foundation so I guess you could say it has been a big part of my identity this century. Back then, I was looking for a part-time job as I had recently been diagnosed HIV+ and hadn’t been well. I wanted to try and get back into the world of work for what was termed therapeutic purposes.

The organisation was growing from being solely focused on gay men’s health and my first few years were with the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Outreach Team. I was quite happy doing that – going around venues promoting safer sex to gay men - I mean what’s not to like? It was a much smaller team in those days and I used to stick my nose into all sorts of other work areas. This must have been noticed as they offered me a full time job in 2003 working with the small Communications Team. This was in the days when we had a fabulous community magazine to produce every month and all hands were very much needed on deck.

I really wasn’t sure if I should or could accept. I have no formal degree or qualifications in anything like marketing or media but I think my enthusiasm for the work carried me through. That and the sheer joy of working with such lovely teammates. Sadly, over the years I have seen a few staffing restructures because funding for things like community gay magazines wasn’t sustainable. The team did a fantastic job producing ‘Outnorthwest’ for so many years reaching out to the many people who told us that our work was really a lifeline for them. I really do know how those people felt because the team at LGBT Foundation have been a lifeline for me for all these years too. We use terms like family a lot but I can honestly say that for me the entire organisation feels like family – but now there are so many relatives I still haven’t met properly!

The organisation has grown because it really cares for the people it serves and I truly believe that anything is possible at LGBT Foundation. I have been given so many opportunities and I am now part of the Pride in Practice team working with healthcare providers to support our wider communities. This really is the best job I have had to date. It is hard work but it is so rewarding to be part of such a progressive and enthusiastic group of people who just want to make sure all of us have access to the best services possible.

I must have met thousands of people in my work over the decades and I’m reaching the stage now where I just cannot remember all the many varied but vital things we have done. I’ve learned so much and I am still learning every single day from all of the many wonderful people we are privileged to work with. We all support one another in so many ways and this is so important when the working day can be quite demanding at times.

I would say that our work is needed now more than ever, we have come so far and we still need to keep pushing to make sure that no one in the LGBT+ community feels left behind. I would not have changed the last 21 years for anything - apart from the silver hair and laughter lines. If only I could remember it all!"

Page Divider
Image of Harvey Kennedy-Pitt

Harvey Kennedy-Pitt

Roles Held: Sexual Health Coordinator for Community Engagement (July 2019 to September 2020)

Pronouns: He/Him

"I was working as a qualified teacher of Science at the time of my application to LGBT Foundation. Having been volunteering at LGBT Foundation over the preceding year as sexual health clinic support, I saw this role as an opportunity to do more of what I was already doing, but in a full-time capacity. In addition, as an educator, public health practitioner and public health doctoral student, I saw this as an opportunity to engage with work I know was more in line with my personal and professional goals.

As Sexual Health Coordinator for Community Engagement, I found myself responsible for developing and coordinating the delivery of a comprehensive range of sexual health outreach, workshops, training sessions, focus groups, talks and interactive activities. This included a focus on access to testing, preventative health tools, pleasure and healthy relationships, point of care testing and full sexual health screening. In addition, I lead of the writing, development and maintenance of the organisational Community Asset Mapping Strategy for Greater Manchester Sexual Health Mobilisation.

Within a month or so of entering my post, I was presented with the opportunity to enlist on a government funded Level 3 Diploma of Leadership and Management, supplemented by the training budget I was allocated by LGBT Foundation. This course was designed to help anyone at LGBT Foundation who was leading or managing people to not just do it but do it well. The diploma covered a variety of areas across leadership, management, finance, coaching & mentoring, project management, management of self and negotiation. What is more, even beyond the development opportunities presented by the ILM, there was no shortage of internal and external training and development opportunities across health, wellbeing, equality and community development.

As the pandemic hit, only 10 months into my role, I was presented with an opportunity to go on a secondment Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to work along Public Health England in the regional response to COVID-19, an opportunity that acted as a turning point in my personal and professional development and progression. In addition to being presented with this opportunity, I received genuine support from all levels when I opted to give up my role at LGBT Foundation and progress into working on COVID on a full-time basis.

The LGBT Foundation spirit is one of resilience and principal. When you choose to work at LGBT Foundation, you choose to join the fight against social injustice, health inequalities, and hate and you do it with individuals who start as colleagues and become friends. To all my siblings, managers and friends, know that you are missed. Through thick and thin, thank you for being my teachers."

Page divider
Image of Craig Langton

Craig Langton

Job Role: Sexual Health Officer - Prevention & Promotion

Pronouns: He/Him

"I came into LGBT Foundation back in November 2015 as a volunteer. This turned out to be a significant moment in my life where I got to hone in on skills and grow with space and without pressure but at the same time fully supported (it's hard to describe the opportunity!). To be honest, this environment changed my life and continues to inspire me to look sideways and not just ahead.

Shortly into my volunteering roles, opportunities kept on coming! Training was available for so many things so I just kept on growing. Now I'm working as a Sexual Health Officer as part of the Sexual Health Programme and being surrounded by a team who want LGBT people to live and not just feel safe is a huge privilege for me. My advice is go for it! If you want to surprise yourself on the daily with challenges that don't just provide service to others but also help you go further inside yourself at the same time."

Page Divider
Image of Tom Montrose-Moss

Tom Montrose-Moss

Job Role: Performance Manager

Pronouns: He/Him

"Immediately prior to being a professional ally for LGBT communities, I worked in international higher education analysing and administrating academic assessments for students around the world. During that time, I worked with subject experts to design fair and effective assessments for students in places like China, Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan and Columbia. Following 5 amazing years travelling and supporting students, teachers and universities, I was given the unique opportunity to apply my skills to support the amazing work carried out at LGBT Foundation as their Performance Manager. Since joining, I’ve made it my mission to create a sector leading data collection system which in turn has made it easier to celebrate colleagues’ efforts and their drive to support vulnerable people and save lives. Furthermore, I’ve collaborated on the creation of the charity’s most recent strategic plan, completed cost benefit analyses on all of our wellbeing work, implemented a new risk register system, supplemented funding applications with robust statistics on the issues facing the communities we serve and set up regular monthly reporting on all of our activities. This in turn has put us at the forefront of intelligence and insight into the key issues faced by LGBT people in Greater Manchester and across the U.K.

LGBT Foundation is unlike any place I have worked at before; it is always welcoming and colleagues encourage you to grow and take up a very broad range of development opportunities. As if that wasn’t enough, during the 3 years here I’ve also cheered on a queer plasticine chicken, took part in a drag queen lead exercise session, marched for equality, fundraised at train stations and handed out condoms, lube and sex toys at local pride events.

The thing I like the most about LGBT Foundation is that it is a place where people feel comfortable and safe to express their true selves. While this may seem like a simple statement, I’ve seen it have a profound impact on people’s lives, including my own. No matter what the future holds, I want to ensure that all places embrace the same principles."

Page divider
Image of Aben Ripley

Aben Ripley

Job Role: Sexual Health Coordinator - Community Engagement

Pronouns: They/Them

"I first worked for LGBT Foundation intermittently as a freelance facilitator - I'd been keeping a half eye on their job listings ever since. I was drawn to the people that worked there, sensing a genuine passion and commitment to LGBTQ+ support and wellbeing.

Starting during 2020 has been (very!) surreal, however I have felt supported every step of the way and warmly embraced into the team. There's a real sense of together-ness and unity that I have been seeking in my work for a long time. My job centres around creating opportunities to empower marginalised members of our community to be able to seek support around their sexual health and wellbeing. I particularly love that LGBT Foundation are so passionate about the significance of 'wellbeing', I feel as though they want our communities to thrive in their lives, not just 'get by'.

I am incredibly proud to work for this organisation and to have found work where I am so effortlessly respected and celebrated for my lived experience as a trans non-binary individual."

Page divider
Image of Allan Smillie

Allan Smillie

Job Role: Finance Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him

"I started as a volunteer to help with my Mental Health and to test whether I was well enough to return to working life. I volunteered in many roles including Volunteer Team, Sexual Health, Reception, Helpline and HR.

I had up’s and downs but with the support of the staff I got through them and loved my time at LGBT Foundation. I ended up becoming a sessional worker for both the Helpline / Reception and Sexual Health, this progressed to applying for a part time role then full time.

I am now the Finance Coordinator and still love my time and experiences working in LGBT Foundation I have been in my current role for 3 years and prior role for 1.5 years part time and a year volunteering / sessional worker.

I would not be where I am today without the support and encouragement of my fellow colleagues at LGBT Foundation we are not just staff we are friends and working here feels like being part of a family."

Page divider