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Volunteers' Week: A message from Mhairi

Our Chief Executive, Dr Mhairi Crawford, kicks off our Volunteers' Week coverage with this message.

For Volunteers’ Week this year, we want to recognise how important volunteering is to LGBT Youth Scotland. Without them we couldn’t achieve the same impact and simply put, we’d not be able to support the 1000+ young people who come to us every year.

Our volunteers are incredibly valuable to us, helping young people feel at ease in our youth groups, being a trusted adult and role model. The breadth of lived experience that they bring; their knowledge, skills and enthusiasm make a real difference to the lives of those that they meet through LGBT Youth Scotland.

Our young people from the Highlands told us: “We love our volunteer, he’s good banter and very nice. It’s good to have him there as our group is mostly trans/nonbinary people and/or lesbians so it gives us a gay man’s voice and representation in group, which would be good for any new people joining who may be gay men too.”

And from the Borders: “It’s so great to have someone who is, like me, non binary as a volunteer here and they are super awesome which is even better.”

As well as directly working with young people, volunteers offer support to our staff team in the groups by delivering sessions and bringing different experiences and viewpoints, a diversity of thought, into the team. They’re a great community as well, engaging through our Slack communications platform to become part of the wider LGBT Youth Scotland family.

Our 100+ volunteers support our 21 Youth groups from Dumfries and Hawick in the South to Inverness in the North and help us deliver our digital services.  The 7000 hours they collectively volunteer every year enable our charity to function.  We also facilitate a ‘Talent Pool’ of volunteers who support us with a whole range of other work across the charity, everything from posting out t-shirts and badges for Purple Friday through to digital design and fundraising.

There is no way for us to quantify the positive impact on young people, staff and the volunteers themselves, but in simple monetary terms we’d need to raise another £87,500 in funding to pay for staffing to match the time our volunteers provide.

A volunteering culture is important to the charity and all of our staff are supported to take a number of volunteering days at other organisations throughout the year. We have staff who support LGBTI interest groups (such as swimming clubs), engage in local community music festivals and as trustees on other organisations’ boards. This helps us grow as individuals, as an organisation, and brings new knowledge back into the charity. 

So, this week, in honour of Volunteers’ Week, we’re publishing profiles of some of our amazing volunteers: their backgrounds, why they chose to volunteer with us and what they get out of working with us.  If their stories inspire you, we run four volunteer inductions a year and we’d be thrilled if you chose to complete our volunteer application form. Join us!

You'll find the complete series of Volunteers' Week profiles in the News section of this site.

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