I’m Tim and I’ve been volunteering with Stonewall for 8 months.
So who am I and how did I get here? Long story short, after a number of years in finance I decided to take a career break and went to Mexico as a volunteer, which allowed me to think about my future. Mexican civil society is vibrant and it made a great impact on me. I wanted to do something with this experience, so when I came back to Europe I returned to university and currently I am finishing a postgraduate degree in European Politics at Birkbeck University.
I’ve been following Stonewall’s work for quite a while and I immediately applied on the website when I noticed Stonewall had volunteering opportunities in their office. As the largest LGBT rights charity, it has done an amazing job over the last 26 years.
It campaigned for Section 28 to be repealed, for an equal age of consent, for civil partnerships and same-sex marriage and many other important initiatives. Being able to contribute to the work of such an amazing organisation and support the cause of acceptance and equality for the LGBT community has been very exciting and an inspiration!
Over the last 8 months, I have been supporting Stonewall in a number of ways; I have supported the finance department in their daily activities, performed desk-based research and supported the Office Manager in the day-to-day running of the office. I’ve also been supporting Stonewall’s Information Service by responding to enquiries relating to LGBT rights.
Volunteering at Stonewall has enabled me to gain valuable work experience and new skills that will be very useful in my future career. It has given me important insights in the daily running of a charity, how to perform research and interact and network with other organisations. At the same time, I’ve gotten to know a great bunch of people and made lots of amazing friends!
Every day is different at Stonewall so it’s a varied learning experience. There are many different teams in Stonewall so you do many different tasks. Even though some tasks may be challenging when you have no experience, Stonewall staff members are always more than happy to support their volunteers.
Once I finish my studies, I am hoping to move into the NGO world and get involved in a campaign or support a great cause. The volunteering experience at Stonewall provides a valuable work experience that counts as a crucial addition to my CV. It is very important for students to get involved as volunteers because employers are not only looking for good degrees but work experience too.
Not only does volunteering boost career options, it enables you to be part of a community network and is very rewarding.