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Notts LGBT+ Network

Notts LGBT+ Network were awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2023 for the advice, information and support they provide for the LGBTQ+ community in Nottingham. We got in touch with them to hear all about their outstanding work and future plans.

Tell us more about what you do?

The Network has been supporting the LGBTQ+ community of Nottinghamshire since 1975, when it was known as the Nottingham Lesbian and Gay Switchboard.

As well as operating a weeknight phone, text and online chat service, the Network compiles the county’s largest online resource hub of LGBTQ+ social groups, support services and events, as well as running its own groups and events. It also delivers training sessions to businesses and organisations on a range of LGBTQ+ issues and produces an LGBTQ+ specific monthly newsletter called QB. 

What is the role of volunteers in your group?

Notts LGBT+ Network is run entirely by volunteers. We currently have over 20 dedicated volunteers from their early 20s to late 70s, including some founding members. 

Our volunteers run every aspect of the Network, including the provision of our weeknight phone, email and text helpline service, social media channels, marketing, fundraising, research, training and community outreach at events. 

Volunteers receiving KAVS pin badges

Can you tell us about the group’s impact on the local community?

Over the last five decades, volunteers have helped over 80,000 people and partnered with hundreds of local businesses and organisations to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ related issues. 

What does being awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service mean to the group and its volunteers?

Mala Abel, Chair of Notts LGBT+ Network commented:

“This award is a real honour and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our amazing volunteers – not just those who are part of our Network today, but every single person who has volunteered with us since 1975. 

They have been there, particularly through some of the toughest times for our community, and continue to be of service today, offering a friendly ear, helping people find the support they need and creating a safe space for those looking for information and help relating to sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional wellbeing.”

Trustee, Tony Barker is one of the Network’s longest serving volunteers, joining in 1975. Commenting on the award, Tony said: 

“The organisation started in the heady and hopeful days of the 1970s and has witnessed the tremendous challenges and changes for the LGBTQ+ community since that time.

The King’s Award is a big thank you to all our past and current volunteers who have kept that hope alive.”

Volunteers at Sherwood Pride

Do you have any exciting plans for the next 5 years?

Next year, we are preparing to celebrate our 50th anniversary and we are currently planning a series of events for volunteers past and present. 

We are also looking at how we can continue to diversify our volunteer base so we can continue to fully represent all parts of our community. 

As we move into our 50th year, we are also looking at how we can expand and diversify the services we offer to help futureproof the charity for the next 50 years. 

Volunteers at Nottingham Panthers Pride Night

How can the public get involved?

If you are a member of the LGBT+ community and can spare at least two evenings a month for our helpline service or have time to help with one of the other activities, we would love to hear from you. All you need to do is fill in a new volunteer questionnaire on our website

Those needing information, help or advice on LGBTQ+ issues can call 0115 934 8485 or text 07481344040 (Mon-Fri 7-9pm).