Hi I’m Rachel, one of Birmingham LGBT’s newest volunteers.
I joined the Birmingham LGBT volunteering team in February 2022 as part of my Civic Engagement placement for my nursing studies. I’m currently in my second year of my nursing degree, at University of Birmingham. Our Civic Engagement placement is where we source our own placement location, either in the UK or abroad, to fulfil our own set of learning criteria as training nurses.
“Civic engagement should provide you with the opportunity to further your understanding of the contemporary concept of globalisation, multicultural health care needs and how such needs are met in diverse social, economic, political and ethnic contexts. It is a unique opportunity to broaden your experience of health, social care and the wider social, political and economic factors that influence and affect health and social care both locally, nationally and globally.”
I knew I wanted to volunteer somewhere in my community. I moved to Birmingham eight years ago and it has become my wonderful home – I feel lucky to live in such a diverse and fantastic city. I was passionate to give my time to a Birmingham-based organisation. I discovered that Birmingham LGBT offers walk-in sexual health testing and information, plus wellbeing support and local community projects. I wanted to find somewhere that offered care and support to local people, and Birmingham LGBT does just that. As a training nurse, I align with Birmingham LGBT’s mission to advocate for the needs of the LGBT community in my city.
After applying for a position, I’m happy to say I am now part of the volunteer team at Birmingham LGBT as a Sexual Health Promotion & Outreach Volunteer and Meet & Greet Reception Volunteer. The team here are incredibly friendly, welcoming me from the minute I started, showing me the ropes and always offering me tea! You’ll mostly find me at the front desk of the centre, directing service users and visitors to relevant and appropriate services and/ or onsite members of staff. I strive to make anyone who comes in feel safe and welcome: it takes courage to reach out for sexual health or wellbeing support. As the first face many service users will see as they come in, I want to ensure they have a good experience with us and alleviate any worries they may initially have.
I’m very enthusiastic to give my time to my local community and I want to become a better ally to my LGBT friends and the community as a whole, especially within healthcare settings. I particularly have an interest in trans-inclusionary health care, and want to expand my knowledge in this area whilst undertaking my Civic Engagement at Birmingham LGBT. I am aware of my position as a cis-het-white woman and I strive to become a better nurse and ally by increasing my understanding of the inequalities marginalised groups face.
The role of Birmingham LGBT and its holistic supportive approach is what I admire most about the organisation. I’m proud to say I am now part of the open, friendly and safe environment at Birmingham LGBT, that aims to create a positive and visible LGBT community in Birmingham.