This year Lynx, Closeup, Simple, Vaseline and Superdrug have partnered up to donate £50,000 to Switchboard LGBT Helpline who offer vital support for the LGBTQ+ community through providing a safe space to talk to other members of the community. There are 5 Superdrug exclusive packs which hero the Switchboard logo and number on the front of pack. We hear from Switchboard’s Co-Chair Tash Walker about the fantastic work she does, and the help Switchboard offers to the LGBTQ+ community.
How long have you worked for Switchboard?
I started volunteering for Switchboard about eight years ago now when I joined as a Listening Volunteer, answering calls, instant messages and emails. I then became more involved in the Media & Brand Team, which works on press, advertising, campaigns and partnerships. I was elected to the Board as a Trustee for four years working on our rebrand and national campaigns, before being appointed Co-Chair by the membership just under two years ago!
Tell us about supporting the LGBTQ+ community?
Switchboard started back in 1974 and has been supporting the LGBTQ+ communities ever since. Whether it's helping someone understand their gender identity or listening and supporting those who have felt excluded by friends and family because of their sexuality, Switchboard is there. Everyone that is a Listening Volunteer at Switchboard self-identifies as LGTBQ+, so we really are from the community for the community - working together to create and provide a safe space where people feel listened to and support, but most importantly where they know they are not alone.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of being a volunteer at Switchboard is when you hear how we've helped someone as an organisation, hearing that you've made a difference, in some way to that person's life. That's what it's all about at Switchboard, being there for those who need us most.
What’s your most memorable moment at work?
There have been lots of memorable moments in my time at Switchboard from the heart breaking calls I have taken on the helpline, to receiving a Gay Times award on behalf of the charity - but some of my favourite moments are marching with Switchboard at Pride, hearing people in the crowd call out and cheer for the charity is such a wonderful experience.
What does the LGBTQ+ community mean to you?
The LGBTQ+ communities mean so much to me, it's where I first felt truly accepted. It's impossible to explain the feeling of talking to people who know exactly how you feel, of course we all have our own experiences as a truly intersectional community but we all had to 'come out' one way or another. I'm so proud to be a part of the LGBTQ+ communities and through the work we do at Switchboard, I went to help others feel that same sense of pride too.
Tell us about your partnership with Lynx, Closeup, Simple, Vaseline & Superdrug
We are so grateful to Lynx, Closeup, Simple, Vaseline and Superdrug for choosing Switchboard to benefit from their Take Pride In You campaign. This partnership not only raises vital funds for the charity allowing us to keep answering the phones, but also raises significant awareness. We have already seen a 35% increase in contacts to the service in 2020, seeing Switchboard's name and number on the different product packs raises vital awareness so that those in need know they are not alone and there is someone they can talk to. Something we would honestly never be able to achieve on our own.
What are your top tips for supporting the LGBTQ+ community?
There are lots of ways to support the LGBTQ+ communities from donating to charities, listening, and learning about the full spectrum of the LGTBQ+ acronym, using someone's correct pronouns and learning about LGBTQ+ history. We actually have a podcast called The Log Books which is about the calls we have taken over our years, the first season focused on 1974 to 1982 - untold LGBTQ+ stories from the people who lived through those times. But most importantly of all, standing up for and with everyone in the LGBTQ+ communities, and showing that you believe we have an equal place, with equal rights in society.