LGBT Foundation Coronavirus Update: Changing the way we work

Over the last two days LGBT Foundation has been testing and preparing new ways of delivering our vital services to LGBT communities, in light of the rapidly changing information and guidance from Public Health England and the Government.

For the safety of all our communities, from today we are temporarily shifting to become a remote service delivery charity. This means that all our face-to-face services will be suspended until at least 14th April.

Our team have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to look for alternative ways to ensure that LGBT people can still access the support they need. Today, we are pleased to announce that the vast majority of services we offer will be continuing in some form during this period. Over the coming days we will be communicating to you exactly what these services look like, and will be up and running very soon.

We’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about the most at risk members of our communities- people over 70, those with underlying health conditions, and those living in domestic abuse situations. We know that these members of our communities are facing an even more uncertain and worrying few weeks and months. That is why we are currently developing a telephone and practical support offer for those most in need, linking up with some of the amazing community initiatives that are already springing up across the country.

We know our volunteers are the lifeblood of LGBT Foundation, doing truly incredible work across a range of programmes from Village Angels to Talking Therapies. We value your time, dedication and commitment hugely, so we’re also looking at ways we can support you over the next few weeks. We’ll be in touch with more details on this really soon.

Our helpline, as always, will continue to be there for all LGBT people in need. For 45 years our helpline has been a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people. If you are feeling worried, isolated or alone, know that you can pick up the phone and reach out to us on 0345 3 30 30 30.

We already know that our services are vital- as much so now as ever before. Yesterday, one of our team took their first remote helpline call from home. They spoke to Carrie*, who was unable to go out and get much needed food and supplies, and risked starving to death. LGBT Foundation were able to connect them with a community food delivery service with a network of volunteers and make sure they can access the supplies they need.

We know things might seem tough at the moment, and you might be feeling like you’ve got nowhere to turn. Our format might be changing for a little while- but we’re still here. We love you and we will always be here if you need us.

With love and support,

Paul Martin OBE

Chief Executive, LGBT Foundation

*name changed

How does this affect my volunteering at LGBT Foundation?

We are currently working with our volunteer supervisors to put adjustments in place to allow some of our volunteering roles to continue. For some programmes, where there is a higher risk to service users, or practical implications, volunteer roles may be put on hold temporarily, and will resume at a later date when COVID-19 poses less of a risk. Any changes to your volunteering role will be communicated directly to you, by your volunteer supervisor or the Volunteering Programme team.

If you have any questions about how your volunteering may change as a result of COVID-19, please email your volunteer supervisor, or volunteer@lgbt.foundation if you are unsure of your supervisor.

Money Talks

We’ve had to make some adjustments to some of our volunteer expenses processes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes have been put into place to reduce your risks and to allow the finances team to continue to process expenses in the event of a full building closure.

All finance paperwork will now need to be submitted and processed electronically. NO PAPER COPIES OF ANY FORMS WILL BE ACCEPTED FROM THIS POINT. You can download an electronic copy here. We will be able to accept a typed signature as long as it’s sent from your email account. when submitting expenses, they will need to be emailed to expenses@lgbt.foundation with the budget manager/ volunteer supervisor and volunteer@lgbt.foundation both copied in. These need to be copied in to authorise the payment, and if they are not included this may delay getting expenses.

For expenses forms with corresponding receipts, you will need to take a photo of receipts or scan them, and number them correspondingly to match with your expenses form, and attach the image/PDF to the email. Please keep all physical copies of receipts safe and hand these to Allan Smillie or a member of the Volunteer Team when you can, as we will need to keep these for audit purposes.

Thanks for your incredible work, and we’ll be in touch soon

LGBT Foundation’s volunteering team