Volunteers are the backbone of the Queensland LGBTIQ community. The volunteers at Diverse Voices have provided confidential peer-based counselling in Queensland since 1984, and the team had their tireless efforts honoured at a recent appreciation dinner, writes Gai Lemon.
It is a wonderful thing to know that you can count on some people to go the extra mile.
The volunteers and staff at Diverse Voices do this 365 days of the year; quietly, without fanfare, and often anonymously.
Their dedication is worth acknowledgment. In order to convey the heartfelt thanks of the Diverse Voices’ Management Committee and QLife Program Coordinator, volunteers and their partners were invited to dinner at the Brunswick Hotel in early November.
“The Management Committee has always been impressed with the range and depth of issues that Diverse Voices peer-to-peer telephone and webchat counsellors have been required to consider,” convenor Rob Collins said.
“Not only in how they meet the challenges they have to confront, but also their contribution of time and commitment for the benefit of our community.
“They have shown the way in helping build the community and deserve to be honoured and respected.”
Rob paid tribute to the support of volunteer’s partners. He acknowledged that without this backing, volunteers would not be able to devote themselves to work that takes them away from home several hours a fortnight.
The dinner was made possible by donations from Brisbane City Council (through the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund and Central Ward Councillor Vicki Howard), Member for South Brisbane, Jackie Trad, and Décor Blinds, Nash Accounting, The Brunswick Hotel, Data #3 and QNews Magazine.
Treasurer and fundraiser extraordinaire Jason Hurst, a key driver behind the appreciation dinner, said, “It makes me feel very warm and fuzzy that outsiders value what our counsellors do as much as we do.”
Special guests for the evening included Krissy Kneen, poet and author, who gave an outstanding address on her writings, life history and uplifting words, followed by a question and answer session.
Cr. Vicki Howard, a passionate supporter of local LGBTIQ communities, presented the Diverse Voices Volunteer of the Year Award to Peter*. QLife Program Coordinator Yvonne O’Callaghan said Peter never misses a shift and always puts his hand up to help at community events such as Pride Fair Day.
It is hoped that the event will become an annual acknowledgment of volunteering.
Diverse Voices, in partnership with QLife, offers peer-to-peer counselling for LGBTIQ Queenslanders on 1800 184 527, seven days a week from 3pm to midnight. For more information, visit their website here.
*In order to provide a confidential service, Diverse Voices do not disclose the surnames of counsellors.
(Pictured: Peter, recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award, Diverse Voices Secretary Gai Lemon, and Vicki Howard, Brisbane City Councillor for Central Ward.)