Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline | Voices of Change

Here at What Can We Do? we strive to promote a better and fairer world through civic engagement, and that is why we launched the Voices of Change guest blog series.

We want to amplify the voices of a variety of different charities, community groups and individuals from home and abroad. While highlighting how COVID-19 has impacted them, how kindness plays a role in what they do, how people can get involved to support them and what the ideal future looks like.

Our special guest today is Natasha 'Tash' Walker (pronouns she/her/they/them), Co-Chair of Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline. Discussing Switchboard's work during Covid-19, how you can support their work and how we can all be better allies to the LGBTQIA+ community

Switchboard logo

Tell us about yourself - Where do you work and what is your role? What do you like and what are you passionate about?

Hi everyone I’m Tash Walker (pronouns she/her/they/them) and I’m one of the Co-Chairs of Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline.

Switchboard started back in 1974 and has been supporting the LGBTQIA+ communities ever since. We are a confidential helpline open to the LGBTQIA+ communities and beyond, for anyone who wants to talk about gender identity, sexuality, sexual health and emotional wellbeing. We have three arms to our services - our telephone line, instant messaging and email service and we are open from 10am to 10pm, 365 days a year.

I’m passionate about inclusion, equality and acceptance. learning from and acknowledging our past. As well as educating and sharing British LGTBQIA+ history so that people really start to understand that this isn’t just British LGBTQIA+ history, this is British history full stop.

Black and white photo of a group of people celebrating Switchboard's 10th anniversary
4th March 1984 Switchboard's 10th anniversary

How has COVID-19 affected the work that Switchboard does?

When the UK government announced the lockdown on 23rd March, we worked through the night at Switchboard to ensure that we could continue to keep providing those calm words when needed most, and we are so pleased to say the helpline stayed open with us taking our first ever remote phone call on Tuesday 24th March.

We were already set up to work remotely for our instant message and email services, which were especially important in lockdown, as many people were worried about being overheard on the phone with a lack of private spa