When you volunteer with us, you'll join a 75+ strong team of people from across Scotland; a group creating positive change for LGBT Young people, inspiring them, encouraging them and helping them to develop. This series of Volunteer Voices profiles will give you an insight into some of the wonderful people who donate their time to our organisation.
Volunteer Area/Type: Scottish Borders – Youth Groups
Volunteer Anniversary: January 2017
Anne is no stranger to youth work. As an additional needs assistant in a local primary school, she understands young people and the support they may need. She is also a board member at the local youth project TD1 Youth Hub where she met our Youth and Community Development Officer, David. He convinced her to be a volunteer at the local group and, as they say, the rest is history.
David adds, “Convincing Anne to come volunteer with LGBT Youth Scotland was the best thing I did. Anne has been a huge support for me in the Borders! Anne’s knowledge of LGBT History (as she studied history at uni) gives us insight into events we may never have talked about. Anne also does not shy away when young people have mature conversations her about her religion. Anne has often said that they are extremely respectful on these subjects and that she values the conversations”.
When Anne first started volunteering with LGBT Youth Scotland there were only a handful of young people who attended the group she works with, Involved, in the Scottish Borders.
“When I first started, the group was quite small with only about 4 young people, but it was great way to get to know everyone and find my way into the group. Staff, volunteers and young people were very welcoming”.
The group has since grown, with over 20 young people attending on a regular basis.
Our Youth Worker, Keith, had this to say: “Anne is such a stalwart at the Involved group, turning up even when she doesn’t feel her best because she loves being a volunteer. Whenever we have practical things to do such as cooking and crafts, she is there like a flash to get involved, while at the same time is happy just to have quiet moments with young people listening to their stories and giving them a chance to open up about their day”.
Anne has made an impression on the young people in the group. One said, “Anne is a fantastic volunteer. She is kind, caring and always making sure that the young people who attend the group know they can ask her anything and if she doesn't know the answer, she will find someone who does”.
Another said, "I love Anne! She's so lovely, cool and super easy to talk to. It was super fun playing SNES with her at group!”.
Anne has also travelled further afield for events across the country including the National Youth Gathering and Edinburgh Pride.
“In 2018 I got to go to the National Gathering in Dumfries. It was great to see so many young people from all over Scotland coming together for the weekend. However, if I were to do it again, I would like a hotel and not camping in the cold!”.
Our Volunteer Coordinator Daniel first met Anne at the National Gathering where he was also volunteering. “I met Anne when I arrived, it felt like we were old friends and I immediately felt welcome. Thanks to the bad weather it was a bonding moment and we have been friends since. I was impressed with how she interacted with young people. They were drawn to her and her supportive personality”.
David added. “Anne not only shared a tent with me, she used her experience from the National Gathering to lead the quiet space at our #BeLGBTInvolved event where young people benefited from having that safe space and a familiar face”.
While working with young people is not always easy, Anne says, “you can normally get through it with some laughter and working on the issue together”.
Nate is a volunteer who works with Anne and they said, “working with Anne is a delight, such a patient and kind person - and super-enthusiastic about musicals which the young people really love!”.
When asked if she could change one thing in the world, what would it be, she said: “Maybe that people think more about how their words can affect others and people take time to listen to each other. Basically, being kind and respectful to everyone would change a lot!”.
When Anne is not at work or with her youth group, she enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons, geeking out to Lord of the Rings, Disney, and Wicked or playing the coronet in her church music group.
Anne’s advice to anyone thinking about volunteering is: “I’ve really loved being involved in the group and seeing the young people grow in confidence over the time. One thing I had not expected was how it would help me. I have often said going to group each week has been a way of de-stressing and gives my spirit a much-needed boost at times!”. Anne went on to say, “If you are thinking about it, just do it. You will get so much more out of the experience than you ever put in. You can learn more about yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone”.
David finished his thoughts with: “I can’t thank Anne enough for everything she has been a part of since joining as a volunteer”.
For more information on volunteering at LGBT Youth Scotland, check out the Volunteering section of this website.