More support needed for gay people in Limerick

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A SUPPORT service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is looking for volunteers to assist them in Limerick, as they hope to expand their services here.

A SUPPORT service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is looking for volunteers to assist them in Limerick, as they hope to expand their services here.

Members of the LGBT community across the county are being asked to sign up to the helpline’s volunteer recruitment drive, which was recently launched.

The helpline provides confidential support to people who are questioning their sexuality, as well as their family. It is currently open for 16 hours each week, and in Limerick the nearest of the four call centres for the helpline is located in Cork. The national helpline service is provided by a network of trained volunteers but, due to high demand and limited numbers of volunteers, it is unable to answer every call it receives.

“Despite recent progress in advancing equality for LGBT people, many still encounter difficulties in relation to their orientation or gender identity,” said Dave Roche, committee member of the LGBT helpline. “Our service is one way of supporting people as they face these difficulties, but we need more volunteers if we are to answer all of the calls we are receiving.

In the first year of the national helpline, they dealt with 2,500 queries but believe they could have answered four times that amount of calls if they had more volunteers.

The service is calling on members of the LGBT community in Limerick and surrounding areas to volunteer their services to help others who may be in need of support.

Volunteers are required to complete an initial six-week training period and to contribute a minimum of four hours’ service per month. After their initial training, they will be based in one of the LGBT helpline’s affiliated local helpline centres, which are located in Dublin, Roscommon and Dundalk, as well as Cork. The identity of volunteers is never revealed, and the helpline safeguards their privacy at all times. At the recruitment drive, they highlighted a particular need for more female volunteers and for older volunteers to ensure a good mix of volunteers within the service.

The helpline is 1890 929 539