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Others ways to get involved – the LGBT community   

The LGBT community is historically under-funded and under-resourced. Without the commitment of volunteers and community activists, the majority of LGBT organisations and services would not exist. There are over 100 organisations across Scotland, from Caithness to Dumfries that are run by LGBT people for LGBT people. They cover a wide range of areas from health, parenting, arts, politics, counselling and youth work, to local groups and networks that provide support and social activities.

On this page:

Go along to your local LGBT group
Volunteer with your local LGBT helpline
Get involved with LGBT civil rights
Volunteer with larger LGBT organisations

Getting involved in this sector can help you to develop new skills – such as counselling or chairing meetings – which are useful in other areas of your life.

Many LGBT organisations – from small support groups, to regional helplines, to large health service providers – have developed over the years in response to non-existent or poor LGBT services offered by mainstream agencies. They offer an effective way for LGBT people to work together and provide services that help the everyday lives of LGBT community members.

There are lots of ways to get involved, each involving different skills and levels of commitment.

The best way to get involved is by contacting the organisation that interests you. Click on the Directory section on the menu for details of Scottish LGBT organisations.

Go along to your local LGBT group

There’s a lot to be gained from getting involved with your local LGBT group. It’s a great chance to meet people and make new friends, you could also support people who are new to the area or who have just come out as LGBT. You could also get involved in running the group, helping with fundraising, producing publicity, maintaining a website or organising events.

Volunteer with your local LGBT helpline

Being a volunteer with your local LGBT helpline is a rewarding and fulfilling experience and allows you to make a huge difference to the lives of LGBT people, their families and friends. It’s also an excellent way for you to develop new skills and to play an active role in the LGBT community. All helplines, or Switchboards as they are more commonly known, are run by committed volunteer counsellors, who provide support and advice by telephone, in writing and sometimes face-to-face. Volunteers receive training to before starting on the helpline to help them deal effectively and sensitively with calls.

Get involved with LGBT civil rights

There are several national organisations who actively campaign to improve the rights of LGBT people in Scotland. These organisations rely on LGBT people to share their views on certain issues, contribute to campaigns (either financially, by attending marches and meetings or by writing letters or emails), respond to consultations, act as a spokesperson or contact for the media or help with administrative tasks (such as sending out mailings to members, handing out leaflets, staffing stalls at events or answering telephones). LGBT civil rights organisations have had several successes in Scotland recently, with the repeal of Section 28 and the Scottish Executive decision to consult on civil partnerships, and getting involved gives you the opportunity to take part in that success. You can really make a difference by lending your voice and your time to campaigns.

Volunteer with larger LGBT organisations

There are several large LGBT organisations that recruit volunteers to fulfil a number of important roles. Whether you volunteer as a worker at Glasgow LGBT Centre or as a peer educator with Gay Men’s Health in Edinburgh, you will get the chance to meet new people and develop new skills. These organisations rely on volunteers as many of them receive very little funding, so this is a great chance to give something back.

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