My experience as a volunteer, unlocking my full potentialPosted on 18-11-2022 by Maria Hughes
A blogpost by Dana Archer.
I first encountered the LGBT Centre in 2018, I had newly come out as a lesbian and wanted to find groups to engage with. I joined a book club who operate within the LGBT Centre. Upon entering I was welcomed by the volunteer on receptionist. Suddenly I didn’t feel nervous, it was a welcoming environment that I was keen to be a part of.
In the summer of 2020, a friend sent me a post about recruitment for volunteers to be at the Centre. I filled out the form and was called that afternoon, after a pleasant conversation with the volunteer facilitator I was booked onto zoom training. The training sessions took place and I was introduced to other volunteers, both experienced and new. That year, I also took part in a Christmas quiz hosted via zoom; despite being celebrated virtually, it was a wonderful and hilarious experience. I feel a great deal of togetherness and community amongst the volunteers and staff.
Upon the lifting of restrictions, I began volunteering in a meet-and-greet role. In this role I greeted people as they walked in, I was the first face that clients saw and therefore ensured it was a pleasant and warm impression. Volunteering on reception was rewarding and unpredictable.
n gets in the way, and I was unable to continue on reception after several months, yet I remained a volunteer, putting myself forward when I was available. In 2021, I branched further into another area of volunteering as I participated in a mosaic project with the women’s group. While I wasn’t required in the delivery of the sessions, I did participate by offering questions and engaging in discussions. I also learned to mosaic, which I still do as a hobby. I also made friends during these sessions and felt I was able to socially re-adjust after the pandemic.
Additionally, I assisted on an outreach event at a rugby game. I realised that this side of volunteering wasn’t for me, but was grateful for the chance to try.
My experience with the LGBT Centre has been invaluable, it is a beautiful and necessary resource that helps so many people. Through volunteering I have not only gained experience but I have made friends and allowed myself to blossom and develop as a person. The Centre offers important guidance in many aspects from mental health to sexual health testing.
I am grateful and relieved that this resource is available in Birmingham. I hope in the future to see support Centres like it opening throughout the country as it is a lifeline for so many.