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Volunteers Week 2023: The Pride in Volunteering

Volunteers’ week is back, 1-7 June and we want to shine a spotlight on all of the fantastic ways we can make a difference in our communities. You could arrange a beach clean-up, make a blood donation or become a befriender.

There are so many ways you can make your mark with your time, skillset and/or resources, just like Jason:

Hi, I'm Jason Harper (he/him), a member of the LGBTQ+ Colleague Network and the Primary Care Transformation Lead here at the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA).

Some people volunteer because they have the drive to support others, some do it because their lives have been touched by an event that inspires their advocacy for a cause. Others like the idea of volunteering but are not too sure where to start.

I decided to volunteer to support a cause close to my heart, prompted by a personal realisation that I’d like to be a part of, and support, something bigger than myself and give something back.

Last year in the summer of 2022 I volunteered to host the stand for Eastbourne Pride. The NHSBSA had never had representation at this event before, so it was all a bit of an unknown.

Like most people, I often felt that volunteering was too much of a commitment or would take time away from my other responsibilities and I wasn’t too sure about the logistics of hosting a stand and ensuring it had all the stuff we needed to make it successful.

I found the support I needed from the Colleague Experience team, who were, and remain, inspirational in their drive and passion, volunteering is their bread and butter, so booking the stand and arranging the planning was all taken care of for me!

We decided to focus the stand on raising awareness of the careers available with us, while spreading the word of what a great place to work the NHSBSA is – so using contacts across the business, we managed to get some flyers and other swag to tempt passers-by which helped to raise our brand awareness. We also really wanted to shout about how we were 5th place in the Stonewall top 100 employer index, which is quite an achievement and once again a reflection of how hard the LGBTQ+ lived experience network and their allies work to make the NHSBSA an inclusive and diverse organisation.

I rustled up a few allies to help me with the stand on the day and it was a roaring success, we made some great contacts across the local community and had a great laugh throughout the day. Who knows; perhaps we gave confidence to some future colleagues that the people working at the NHSBSA, and other large healthcare organisations really do support people to truly be themselves.

LGBTQ+ people face a difficult journey through life and volunteers can make all the difference, not just in thought but also in action. I recommend anyone who is interested, to please investigate volunteering for other LGBTQ+ groups, especially if you are an ally or as the below quote states, you would like to understand more about the challenges minority groups face.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

 - Winston Churchill