Celebrating our amazing volunteers on Volunteer Week Volunteers Week takes place 1-7 June every year. It's a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to communities and say thank you. This year we had our first in-person celebration since 2019. In this event, we expressed and reinforced our gratitude to each and every person who has volunteered during this period. We have awarded trophies to some volunteers, however the thanks and acknowledgments are for everyone! We are delighted to work with Mama Shelter in Shoreditch, who have kindly agreed to host the evening for us. We had an awards ceremony to recognise volunteers who have made specific notable contributions over the past couple of years. But there are no losers in this game - everyone who has given their invaluable time to support our members is very much seen by the Opening Doors staff, with all your contributions being celebrated! See below some of the volunteers who have been awarded yesterday! Nick Hi my name is Nick and I am a volunteer at Opening Doors, in particular as a telefriender. Each week I speak on the phone to my allocated telefriendee. We discuss anything and everything - however the mood takes us. We hit it off straightaway and over the months, we’ve got to know each other really well. I’ve learned so much, both about my telefriendee but also about myself. It’s a joy to speak to him and I really look forward to our weekly call. I’m delighted to have been given an award by Opening Doors and urge others to consider volunteering - it’s so worth while. So go on - why not give volunteering a go? Philippa I’m Philippa (she/her) and I have been volunteering for Opening Doors for a number of years. Primarily, that has been running the art group in Homerton. I also assist at the Southwark social afternoon near Borough. The details of both these drop-in events can be checked in the monthly Opening Doors Listings that are emailed and posted. I would recommend joining in as a volunteer, because it is a pleasure to do the work and I have met many wonderful people in the safe spaces we provide. It is always nice for one’s efforts to be acknowledged, so I am grateful for the award for Opening Doors for mine. I am a trans artist, former teacher and bookseller based in South London. My work has appeared in a Queer Direct show and its book, at Loudest Whispers and also in Tate Modern and Dulwich Picture Gallery Late Shows. I also curated consecutive Pride Month 'Queer Arts' Shows to benefit Opening Doors London. Gender Pioneers is my first book and developed from the portraits that I exhibited and will be published by JKP/Hachette on the 18th August 2022 (Gays the Word and other bookshops will welcome preorders). Richard Hello I'm Richard who has been volunteering for an assortment of events for a number of years now. Visits to Museums,Galleries, serving dinners facilitating walks amongst other things. I very much get a buzz out of seeing people enjoying themselves with the hope some of the enjoyment may have been generated by me. I would very much encourage others to volunteer and find out how much they can help people many of who appreciate a friendly face and a chat. Alex Hi. I’m Alex. I volunteer for Opening Doors London as a befriender. I have been with my befriendee since 2018. I am pleasantly surprised to receive this award. I volunteer with ODL because I’ve always gotten on well with my elders but feel that our society neglects them. I’ve found this last few years to be interesting and engaging and welcome others to get involved. You can meet some great characters. Angela Hello, I'm Angela Traill, an Ambassador for Opening Doors. I am truly delighted, if also a little overwhelmed, at being given this award for my volunteering efforts. Over the past 18 months or so since joining, I have put myself forward to help the excellent Opening Doors team with the delivery of training to public and private health and social care teams, supporting the wonderful Emma Underwood. I seem to have offered my services to the participation of various podcasts and videos, even an Advisory Group for the London arm of Age UK: quite clearly I must like the sound of my own voice! Seriously, Opening Doors has opened my eyes to the issues that LGBTQ+ people face as they get older, issues that I too am facing but of which I had little idea about, until now; and it's scary. So, it is a pleasure to volunteer and do something positive for those of us who would otherwise, very largely, go unnoticed and unheard by society. I hope very much to carry on volunteering and encourage many more of you to do likewise, as there is much still to do. Becky Opening Doors is a completely unique charity and I wanted to become a Telephone Befriender as soon as I knew about the volunteering opportunity.From knowing the experiences of elderly relatives and people I’ve met through previous volunteering, loneliness and isolation affects so many older people and this is often experienced more within the LGBTQ+ community.I have been a Telephone Befriender with Opening Doors for 2 years and absolutely love it. My befriendee and I have been chatting once a week for 18months and I have learnt so much from our weekly chats. I became a Waiting List Volunteer 9 months ago. This has given me the opportunity to chat weekly or fortnightly with people waiting for a permanent befriender. I have spoken with such lovely people and even though our chats are brief, it’s always interesting to hear their life experiences and catch up.It’s always lovely to see that someone I’ve spoken with has been matched. Opening Doors is a fantastic charity and I’ve never felt more valued and supported. I am visually impaired, I have found everyone very accommodating with making sure that everything is accessible to me which means such a lot. This has been the best 2 years of volunteering that I’ve ever had and hope there will be many more.