Why You Should Volunteer

Yawn… Today is a long day, I’m not really feeling the late shift. Late isn’t all that late here, just 11:00-19:00, but it’s enough. Once I’m home and fed, it’s 9 and I’m wondering what has happened to my homelife with my missus.  Maybe I should use this whole “right to a private family life” defence to get rid of my late shifts, I mean, no, I have no children, but I do have a family. I am disgustingly happy at the moment, positively gleeful over my current situation, even if it is slowly killing me!


I work 37 hours per week for an unnamed supermarket, in their offices, not on the shop floor. I don’t say that because there’s anything wrong with working on the shop floor. I only mention it because the work I do is fairly far removed from your everyday till girl. It’s all computer based which makes my eyes square, and my arse massive. I don’t mind my job, it pays my bills, very well.


Outside my ordinary job, I work three voluntary roles. I always thought volunteering meant shaking a bucket, “chugging” or going door to door, but in the past three years I’ve discovered that you can use volunteering to better your CV, gain experience and have tonnes of fun.


1)     I have a weekly radio show on a community station called “Gaydio”. It is the first of its kind, dedicated to the Gay community in Manchester and also around the world. We get listeners from as far afield as Gran Canaria and America. My show is the MOBO show (The Groove) on Tuesdays, 9PM -11PM GMT and can be heard outside Manchester online at www.gaydio.co.uk. Although it is the Music of Black Origin show, that really just relates to the music and my chat can be about anything – usually stuff I read in the paper that amuses me.


2)     I’m an adhoc volunteer for Manchester Pride, the UK’s biggest LGBT festival (more info at www.manchesterpride.com) I would love to volunteer regularly and work in the office, but due to my main job, this is impossible so instead I organise events and promote Manchester Pride through my online community and on my radio show. Last year I led the Pride Parade through Manchester as my Drag King alter ego, and came 2nd in the HRH Drag King competition, and this year, I am organising the competition and helping to host. I’m also performing on the community stage on Saturday 27th August at 10pm. I’m going to be incredibly busy, but it should be a great weekend, as always. A few other bits about Pride this year, if you didn’t already know, it is Manchester Pride’s 21st birthday, and in honour of this historic birthday, the Lowry in conjunction with Manchester Pride has an exhibition with memorabilia, photos and videos from the past 21 years as well as event information for 2011. I’m a real nostalgic type and so I got a real thrill from watching the “It’s a Knockout” video from 1991 and from all the flyers, programmes and posters they have in the glass cases. On that note, if you have any memorabilia you’d like to donate, contact Lance at info@manchesterpride.com, or the Lowry.


3)     My most recent venture is a position on the board of the Lesbian Community Project in Manchester. We are the only full time organisation for Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans-Women and Trans-Men in the UK. We have been running for 15 years, and I’m trying desperately to catch up with all that history. Until I worked with the LCP for a fantastic event back in February (Grrrl Meets Boi), I’ll admit, I’d never really used the LCP, mostly because I was living outside Manchester, but it has been a terrific resource since I moved first to Salford, then to Cheetham Hill. Apart from excellent events and fundraisers, the LCP offers support and help to anyone calling, emailing or dropping in. Tonight is SOFA (Support or Fun Activities) and we’re planning new groups all the time.  The new board which met for the first time in May has wasted no time in planning for the coming financial year, and we intend to make the LCP great again, as well as recruiting as many new members as we can! (for more info or to receive an LCP Newsletter by email contact enquiries@lesbiancommunityproject.co.uk) This my newest voluntary role has already led me to a Slutwalk (http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1423405_hundreds-join-slut-walk-protest-through-manchester - That’s me in the pink scarf!) and to a rather special club which shall remain nameless! ;-)


In short, I love my life, I’m doing activities which are efficacious  to the community. I have the perfect girlfriend and a lovely home life and to top it all off, I’m packing my CV with experience which will help me move onto the next step! Volunteering doesn’t need to be a drag, it doesn’t need to take up all of your time  and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hard slog. For example… why not volunteer at Manchester Pride this summer? It’s fun and you get to see some fab performers, plus there’s a wicked free Volunteer’s party at the end. Contact info@manchesterpride.com or go to the website for more information!

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