“Until very recently I was an Icebreakers volunteer. I originally joined Icebreakers as a service user, when I moved to Manchester, in order to make some friends. Sometime after I left, I decided to volunteer. I have volunteered in lots of different organisations for around 20 years, although this was the first time I had volunteered for an LGBT group.
From the beginning I felt that the volunteer team have a really good bond. Every team member brings a different perspective to the group, and is valued and allowed to grow and participate. The volunteers are quite social too and everyone gets on really well.
One of the most amazing and rewarding aspects of volunteering for Icebreakers is to see the service users blossoming and overcoming shyness and anxieties, to become confident and independent people, and knowing that you played a part in that success. In my 20 years of voluntary work I have never met a voluntary group before, that took the wellbeing of it’s service users so seriously, and operated in such a professional manner. Since returning to Portugal, the biggest thing I miss about Manchester, is volunteering for Icebreakers.”
“I currently volunteer for Icebreakers. I was asked to volunteer by a friend who was already a volunteer. I decided that as I was recently retired, I had the time and also an opportunity to give something back. I wanted to help the gay community, and wished that a group like Icebreakers had been available to me, when I was struggling to come out.
Many of the service users at Icebreakers lack social confidence and are struggling with practical and emotional issues relating to their sexuality. Having a group like Icebreakers, that they can attend, and where they can meet other people like them with similar issues helps them to overcome their problems and to form long term friendships with other service users. I enjoy seeing introverted guys, some who are only gay on a wednesday night, come along and gain confidence over time and make many new friends. It makes me feel that volunteering for the group is time well spent, to see how people’s lives are changed for the better.”
“I initially attended Icebreakers as a service user some years ago, when I was looking for support when I was coming out. I was always grateful to Icebreakers for the support they gave me and the fact that the service allowed me to make a lot of like minded friends at a time when I needed them. I recently became a volunteer, so I could give something back and become more involved in the LGBT community in Manchester.
Having been a service user myself, it gave me a good understanding of the needs and issues that service users have. A lot of guys come along and socialise and make friends easily. Others need a bit more help and that’s why we’re here. We provide a stable safe environment where guys can build up their confidence and can always have a chat with volunteers if anything is bothering them. Helping service users transform over their time here gives me a great sense of satisfaction, and being part of a committed and caring team of volunteers is also very rewarding.”
We heartily recommend volunteering as a great way of helping and getting to know others so please take a moment to watch this video about the benefits of volunteering for an LGBT charity like Icebreakers and get in touch if you’d like to volunteer with us.