I’m Lily (she/her) and I started volunteering at London Friend about 4 months ago. I was inspired to volunteer because I had a difficult time coming out and attending a London Friend peer support group helped me. A couple of years later, I wanted to make things a bit easier for someone else, so I began volunteering. I find it so rewarding because as a volunteer I help to create a safe space so that the attendees can bring support and inspiration to each other. My experience has been that London Friend is a supportive and friendly place to volunteer, it’s well-run which means I can focus on my volunteering and keep my workload manageable and balanced.
What is your role as a volunteer at London Friend?
I’m one of a group of volunteers that facilitates the Changes peer support group for lesbian and bisexual women.
What has been a standout moment for you?
It’s a standout moment for me when we’re able to encourage someone who’d like to attend the group and who’s at the early stages of coming out so London Friend might be the first LGBTQ+ space they’ve ever entered. I know it can be intimidating, so making that first step easier and breaking down some barriers can make a real difference.
I’m most proud of London Friend every time an attendee shares with the peer support group something that is difficult for them to talk about because I see the way the peer group is so accepting, non-judgemental and gives space and support. It’s incredible and inspiring to see.
What would you say to anybody interested in becoming a volunteer at London Friend?
I’d encourage them to get in touch and find out more. Maybe try ’shadowing’ some volunteers because once they start to meet some of the volunteers, they’ll see there’s a huge diversity in the range of people who volunteer and there’s space for each volunteer to bring their individuality to the role.