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Blog: Meet the Volunteer – Lucy Pinder & SAYiT’s 20th Anniversary

Our volunteers make up a massive part of SAYiT. Without them we wouldn’t be so successful in the important work that we do. We couldn’t run so many of our groups, services, and events without their hard work, charisma, and time. Throughout our history, volunteers have supported SAYiT’s work, and in turn, have changed the lives of our young people.

We’re looking back over 20 years of SAYiT in preparation for our 20th Anniversary Celebration on 24/10/19 at the Sheffield Town Hall. We want to put the spotlight on our Volunteers and their incredible support and involvement in SAYiT over the years. Our wonderful volunteer Lucy Pinder has kindly offered to speak with us about what being a SAYiT volunteer is like.

“Being part of the LGBT+ community myself, I love my role as I am able to get to know other people who have similar experiences to my own”

Thanks for agreeing to speak with us Lucy. We know you’re a busy bee – so it’s kind of you to give even more of your time to SAYiT for this!

Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

I am a medical student at The University of Sheffield in my 4th year of study and currently working on a really exciting research project at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. I started working with SAYiT when I got put on a student placement there last November for a month. The point of the charity placement was to help open our eyes and learn about all the different people in Sheffield. I loved the placement and haven’t been able to leave since! Also, my team won the best presentation when we presented our work with SAYiT to the medical school! I’m from Doncaster and have lived in Sheffield for 4 years while at university here. Sadly, I’m not a sporty person so most of my spare time is spent teaching and volunteering!

We’re so glad that you decided to stay and continue working with us! You’re a real asset to SAYiT, our Youth Workers describe you as a pleasure to work with, “enthusiastic”, “committed”, and resoundingly “smiley and positive”. You’re currently a (smiley) volunteer for SAYiT – what does that entail?

In my role as a volunteer at SAYiT I get to help out with the youth groups we run, Fruitbowl and Prism. At the groups I am there to listen to the young people and to help out with the more practical side of things like setting up and tidying away, so that the youth workers can spend as much time as possible helping the young people. As a volunteer, I also help with days out and activities the charity plans.

I decided to become a volunteer at SAYiT following my placement because I witnessed just how valuable the work is that the charity does for young people and regard the work as not just transformational for the young people, but life-saving too. Being part of the LGBT+ community myself, I love my role as I am able to get to know other people who have similar experiences to my own and I get to provide crucial support that I often wish I had received myself when coming out.

We’re speaking to you about a week before the SAYiT 20th Anniversary Celebration. What does the 20th anniversary mean to you?

The 20th anniversary of SAYiT means a time of celebration when we think together about all the amazing achievements of the charity and all the incredible people that have been touched by SAYiT along the way. It’s also a time of reflection for those in the LGBT+ community in Sheffield who have gone through hard times over the last 20 years and faced circumstances, often at very young ages, that no person should ever have to face.

You’ve already done so much with SAYiT in just a short slice of SAYiT’s history. What is your favourite memory of SAYiT?

My favorite SAYiT memory has to be the day Harriet (the brilliant SAYiT Youth Worker) and I took a group of young people to the AKT youth conference in London. We got to go to a very swanky building in the financial quarter in London, meet lots of other people in LGBT+ community from around the world and we got rainbow cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery!

What do you anticipate for SAYiT’s near future – next year?

When I think about SAYiT in 2020, I hope we have plenty more volunteers so the charity staff can focus on helping young people even more. Furthermore, I hope we can continue to do new exciting activities every week with Fruitbowl and get more inspirational LGBT+ figures in to encourage our young people.

And how about 20 years in the future – what do you see for SAYiT’s 40th anniversary year?

In 20 years it would be fantastic to see SAYiT still supporting young people however I do hope in the future that being part of the LGBT+ community is easier for our young people. I hope to see education in schools developed and access for LGBT+ young people to sexual health services improved. Hopefully, in the future our work can focus on young LGBT+ people meeting each other and having fun, rather than us having to deal with the barriers our wider community puts in the way of our LGBT+ young people’s lives.

We also hope that being a young LGBT+ person will be easier in the future. SAYiT always has, and always will commit ourselves to providing a sense of community, and a safe space for young LGBT+ people to have fun and meet. That’s what makes SAYiT Volunteers so great – their focus and priority, like ours, is our Young People and their wellbeing.

SAYiT would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Volunteers, past and present, for their hard work and dedication to SAYiT.

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