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: Falkirk – Youth Groups
Volunteer Anniversary: March 2018
It’s not every day you get a tattoo and decide to become a volunteer, but that is exactly how our volunteer Callum came to volunteer for our Falkirk youth group, FK1nclude.
“I had been wanting to volunteer with young people for a while but had not gotten around to it. I happened to mention it in conversation whilst getting a tattoo. By chance, my tattoo artist was volunteering in Edinburgh with LGBT Youth Scotland at the time. She told me about a tattoo workshop she had done for a group and it sounded fun, so I decided to apply.”
Callum was a bit nervous when he joined his first group as a volunteer, but said, “I needn’t have been. We had a music workshop that night. It was a nice introduction to the young people and it was good seeing them all be so creative. I even got to play the guitar”.
We asked some of the group members for their thoughts about Callum and one of them told us: “Callum is the biggest sweetheart. He’s so easy to talk to and he’s got a great sense humour. He’s a huge asset to our group”.
Our groups are a place for young people to be themselves in a safe and nurturing environment. Every now and then, issues arise that need to be dealt with. Callum said that his training really helped him on one of those occasions. “While volunteering, I had a young person disclose concerns to me. I had recently attended a Scottish Mental Health First Aid Course (through LGBTYS) and therefore felt very well equipped to handle the situation, as it helped me to ask the right questions and follow the correct procedures to pass the information on to the youth worker. This is an example of how volunteering for LGBT Youth Scotland has given me great training opportunities.”
He also said that his training was a bit of a surprise for him. “I went into my introduction training day thinking I was knowledgeable when it came to the LGBTI+ spectrum and was not prepared to be as educated as I was on the day. Funnily enough, that has continued as the young people are always educating me on something or another, which is great.”
Callum’s time with LGBT Youth Scotland has not been limited to his youth group work. He has also joined his group at Edinburgh Pride and even became an LGBTYS abseil hero when he joined the LGBTYS team in the Forth Rail Bridge Abseil in 2019, raising over £250 for us.
“My volunteering highlight was without shadow of a doubt accompanying the young people to Edinburgh Pride. It was amazing seeing them just be themselves and march up the Royal Mile with smiles on their faces as people cheered them on. I also abseiled off the Forth Rail Bridge for LGBTYS alongside a young person, which was excellent.”
Outside of volunteering, Callum stays busy as a support worker for an Autism charity and spending time with his wife Gayle and Hazel, their little border terrier, or watching rugby at Murrayfield. He also recently completed as BSc with Honours in Psychology.
Callum has run a number of workshops including one on alcohol awareness which included “measuring out units of alcohol in beer, wine and spirits (no real drinks were used of course). We then played alcohol bingo. The young people really seemed to enjoy it and it increased their knowledge and understanding”.
Another young person had this to say about Callum: “He is so kind and friendly. He always has a smile on his face and is so easy and comfortable to talk to and be around”.
“Volunteering has surpassed my expectations. I wasn’t prepared to be afforded as many opportunities as I have been (e.g. training, attending events, fundraising). I have also enjoyed the involvement of other organisations (LEAP Sports, Rape Crisis, Samaritans etc.). It’s great to see different organisations coming together in support of young people. I also wasn’t prepared for how passionate and knowledgeable the young people are.”
If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer, Callum says, “Apply, be yourself, and say yes to opportunities that come your way. You will meet great people, have a great time and most importantly support some fantastic young people”.
For more information on volunteering at LGBT Youth Scotland, check out the Volunteering section of this website.