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  Call: 0115 9348485

  Text: 07481 344040

[email protected]

Registered Charity number 1114273

Formerly Nottingham & Notts Lesbian & Gay Switchboard

Volunteering and other ways of helping

 

We welcome new volunteers, particularly women and people from all ethnic groups.      

 

You will need to use a database, expect to deal with a wide range of issues, have a sympathetic phone manner and respect the confidentiality of all callers. If you feel that you could help us with your time and skills, call us for further details.

 

To become a volunteer, you yourself must be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans. You will need to take part in our Training Programme – which usually begins in the Autumn of each year, though some years there is also a Spring training programme.

 

Those who successfully complete their training are expected to staff one of the helpline about twice a month and attend a monthly general meeting.

 

The service is operated from our office at 7 Mansfield Road, Nottingham. . Volunteers should not expect to be taking frequent phone calls.The majority of our contacts are not by phone. They are firstly by e-mail and, to a lesser extent by social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter), texting and instant messaging.

 

The phone calls that we do get divide into three types.

 

•Silent calls

•Calls from a handful of people who phone in regularly, often with the same issues

•New people with enquiries which cover a range of concerns

 

The major change in the reason why people contact us is that we are now seen as a route through which people can draw the attention of the local LGBT+ community to something which they are doing. This may be:

 

•Opening a new venue

•Starting a new social group

•Attracting members to an existing group

•Putting on a one-off event

•Pointing out an LGBT-related event at a local theatre/cinema

•Asking for participants in an academic survey

•Asking for comments on a plan by, say, Nottingham City Council

•Asking for people to attend a focus group

 

We can, for example, publicise things on our own Facebook page, on Twitter etc and also in our bimonthly newsletter QB.

 

All these things allow us to make a valuable input into the local LGBT+ community. We still get complex and sometimes distressing phone calls, but they are infrequent.

 

We ask our volunteers to agree to a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

 

Volunteers are also encouraged to get involved in those additional areas that are needed to keep the Network functioning:  fundraising; training new volunteers; representing the Network at various meetings; staffing stalls at Pride and elsewhere; being a "reporter" for our bimonthly newsletter

 

PLEASE NOTE:  Our service operates from our office at 7, Mansfield Road, Nottingham. The office has wheelchair access.

Our Training Programme

 

We usually have a training programme towards the end of each year. Sometimes there is a second programme in late Spring.  The sequence of training is as follows:

 

1. People who are interested in volunteering are asked to fill in a brief questionnaire.

 

2. Those who return the questionnaire are invited for a two-way interview shortly before the formal training begins. It's "two-way" because we will ask you a few questions, but then allow time for you to ask us what you need to know about Switchboard.

 

3. Formal training takes place, usually as full day sessions on a couple of Sundays.

 

4. Training then continues "on the job" as you begin to deal with phone calls, e-mails, texts and letters under supervision.  The different skills or "competencies" need to deal with the work successfully are assessed by those doing the supervision.  When you have achieved all the "competencies", you will be accepted as a trained volunteer.

 

5. We occasionally have extra training sessions on specific subjects and also many of our monthly General Meetings include an element of training.

Apart from the satisfaction of helping those who contact us, what else do volunteers get out of being involved?

 

   learning new skills

   use skills that you already have in new contexts

   using experience on CVs

   meeting other like-minded volunteers

   take part in social activities

   making new friends

   network with people from other voluntary and statutory organisations

   being among the first to hear about important new developments

Other ways of helping. We always need  

 

  • Up-to-date and accurate information about local groups, venues and events.

  • Donations or fund-raising ideas to help us continue our work. It is extremely difficult to raise the few thousand pounds a year we need.

  • Feedback (positive or negative) about the effectiveness of our service.

Volunteers_at_prides

 

 You can download an online application form by clicking HERE