Over the years, volunteers have been a constant key pillar in our organisation.
Now more than ever, our volunteers play an integral part in helping us support people living with HIV along with promoting good sexual health for all.
To mark this year’s Volunteers’ Week, we spoke to some of our volunteers about their journeys, what they’ve learnt during their time with us, and what special memories they will carry with them forever.
‘Having come from a relatively privileged background, before starting with the welfare rights department I had very little knowledge surrounding the benefits system or those that are dependent on it.
‘Working for Terrence Higgins Trust has been an eye-opening experience, not only in the deficiencies of that benefit system, but in the hardships of those who looked to the state for support. This was an opportunity that I sought out as part of my course, and since then has evolved into a highly rewarding part of my week.’
When asked what she would say to someone interested in volunteering with us, Sarah was quick to address a common worry – time commitment.
‘We all have busy lives, and it can be difficult to see where we would find the time to dedicate to volunteering. However, what I have discovered is that the “micro-volunteer” option that is available negates that.
‘Signing up to volunteer at certain events if and when you have time would be a great option for those that are worried about this time commitment. The vast range of services that Terrence Higgins Trust supplies are super important to a lot of people, and you would be doing an immense amount of good by offering whatever support you can to the organisation.’
Find out more about volunteering
Ese has been a Positive Voices speaker for almost two years now. He uses this role to share his story of living with HIV and how his life has changed since being diagnosed.
'I am able to educate people on what it means to live with HIV in 2021 and challenge the stigma that people may have towards HIV. It means a lot to me to be able to help in this way.
'Around the time when I started to coming to terms with my HIV diagnosis and sexuality, after seeking counselling, I was looking for an opportunity to share this new lease of life that I had with people.'
And what would Ese say to someone interested in volunteering with Terrence Higgins Trust?
'I think the most important thing I would say is that you don't have to wait for all of the pieces to fit together, just get in touch with Terrence Higgins Trust and do it. You won't know how much it can benefit you until you start, so just start!
'The thing that has been most significant is that the volunteer community is also a family community for me. They are there to support you. Being away from my home and my family it has been amazing to get the support from them to help me get where I am.'
Paul’s volunteering journey began after years of hearing stories about people living with HIV but not being able to access support or information.
'I was born in the 70s, so when HIV broke in the 80s, that was my teenage years.
'I remember the fear that was spread and the negativity that surrounded HIV. And actually, I can’t remember HIV being spoken of back then, so it was hard to understand any more than that it could kill you. I knew Terrence Higgins Trust supported people with HIV, and I wanted to join to educate myself and help the cause.'
And Paul emphasised the importance of keeping an open mind and not letting doubts hold you back from volunteering. 'It's great fun, and you are surrounded by great people, and it feels good to be able to help people. It's also nice to be able to chat to all of the different people that come in – after a few minutes you can see them relax and you can really see the impact you can have on making someone's experience a good one.
'It's great to know there is this safe space for people. I may not have a long interaction with people, but it's an important one and I really enjoy it.'
How to become a volunteer
Visit our volunteering page for information, vacancies, and contact details for any questions you may have about becoming a volunteer.