Every day this week, we're sharing a profile of one of our incredible volunteers. If you're feeling inspired, learn more on our Volunteering webpages.
Volunteer Area/Type: Inverness – Youth Groups
Volunteer Anniversary: November 2018
Growing up in the Highlands, Alan knows what it could be like being LGBT in a small village or town. He became a volunteer as he wanted to “help people who feel like they don’t have a voice, or they need someone to talk to that can relate to some of the things they are going through”.
Living in the Highlands meant some long days for Alan to attend training in Glasgow and Edinburgh due to the distance he had to travel. Whilst it was quite a journey for him, he said, “The training was excellent - it covered pretty much the essentials and what we could expect going into youth work and assisting at groups. It was a great chance to meet and speak with other volunteers from across Scotland too”.
After his training, Alan joined the Pillar group in Inverness and was “a bit apprehensive at first as it was a bigger group than I had expected (obviously there are lots of LGBTQI identifying young people in the Highlands, but I didn’t think the group would be so well attended!), [but] everyone at Pillar in Inverness is super friendly and welcoming”.
Our Highlands Youth Worker, Nate, shared their experience with Alan: “He slotted in to the Pillar dynamic almost immediately with his fun personality & gentle spirit. The young folk all love him & look up to him. It's great to add a male to the mix too as diversity is what we're all about!“.
Last year, Alan helped the group prepare for Proudness (now Highland Pride) and said,
“It was great to see so many of the young people from our group work on the banners and placards as well as take part on the day in the march”.
Nate adds, “Alan is super reliable, helpful & always willing to support the service in any way. He's an integral part of the team now. The young folk bonded with him particularly at Highland Pride last year where he was a massive help on the day. Pillar & the Highland service in general just wouldn't be the same without him now".
When the group was asked about Alan, a few of them had this to say: “We love Alan, 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”.
Recently, Alan has been supporting the group on a project they have been working on: the Pillar Podcast. He said, “It’s amazing to see all the effort and hard work young people put into the projects like the Pillar podcast to make it a success”.
When Alan is not working as a Marketing Manager for a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course provider in Inverness, he is studying for his postgrad degree or travelling.
If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer, Alan says, “Just go for it! There isn’t a typical volunteer so everyone has something to offer and bring to the table - whether that be a skill that you can share, or just being a good listener.”