The Difference Volunteers Make to Terrence Higgins Trust
Each month, we will be featuring a different charity or other non-profit organisation that relies on the help of volunteers. In their words, you will hear what these organistions do and the difference volunteers make to them.
This month, we hear from Terrence Higgins Trust. Read all about them below. If you would like to volunteer with THT contact Julie Ringsell on 07741 323443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who do you help and in what way?
We are here to help anyone who would benefit from the support our services provide.
Our services include sexual health information and advice, testing for sexually transmitted infections and Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) e.g. HIV and Hep C at our testing clinics. We also run support groups and workshops for people living with or affected by HIV and/or Hep C.
In addition to this, we raise awareness in schools, work places, colleges and universities as well as providing training and consultancy. We also fundraise in a variety of ways.
What difference do volunteers make to your organization?
Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) was founded by friends of Terry Higgins in response to his death in 1982. Quite simply, volunteers are at the heart of what we do. Volunteers help support us in lots of different ways, including the delivery of health promotion, in our clinical settings and within our peer projects.
Across Scotland, our volunteers have already generously given us over 4000 hours of their time this year! Their passion, knowledge, skills and commitment make a huge difference to our ability to reach so many more people, allowing us to educate and support them.
Our Peer Support volunteers make an enormous difference sharing their lived experiences to help break down the stigma of living with a BBV..
What volunteers do you need at the moment?
We have a wide range of roles, including Clinic Reception, Health Promotion and Mass Volunteering. Our volunteer roles are generally very flexible and allow you to give as much or as little time as you can.
The skills needed to volunteer vary from role to role. Many do not require any specific skills and training will always be provided where required.
If you have specific skills that you feel would benefit us, please get in touch.
And what benefits can they expect?
You will meet new people, update your skills, enhance your CV, be offered the opportunity to gain a qualification and most importantly, help us to deliver high-quality HIV/Hep C and sexual health information and help. You will be taken through an application and induction process with opportunities to buddy ‘seasoned volunteers’.
I don’t really know what I was expecting, so it’s safe to say it has exceeded all my expectations. Volunteering with THT has genuinely expanded my worldview – it has made me a more accepting and open person, and has taught me how important it is that we defend the right of everyone to live the life they choose.
The best things about volunteering with THT are getting the opportunity to meet new people, and finding new and interesting ways to have open discussions about HIV/Hep C and sexual health. Sex is one of the most natural things in this world but it just happens to be something that many people are uncomfortable talking about.
I have personally evolved a great deal whilst volunteering with THT. Not only have I been educated on HIV/Hep C and sexual health in general, but I’m also more accepting of all the different lifestyles and people that I have met.
If no-one volunteered, where would you be?
Here in Dundee, if no one volunteered, we simply couldn’t manage to attend as many outreach events, talks or provide support at the drop in testing clinics. Our services would become very limited! We would struggle to continue to educate more people on good sexual health, living with a BBV or indeed test those who sue our drop in clinics.