During the summer of 2015, Cara and Amy from the Sex Matters Too project came into my school to do a volunteer recruitment assembly. They explained how the project works, and I knew this was something I would be interested in doing, so I signed up. I’d like to become a secondary school teacher, so I thought volunteering with the Sex Matters Too project would be a great opportunity to enhance my skills and deliver important information to my peers.
When I first started volunteering on the project I was nervous about delivering the content and my ability to present workshops to an audience. Through the Sex Matters Too training I was able to overcome this by getting all the information that I needed, and knowing I had the support of Cara and the hub coordinators.
Recently I was diagnosed with stress-related anxiety disorder, and I have found that through volunteering and delivering workshops I have been able to stay focused, and this has helped me deal with my anxiety.
Myself and some of my friends delivering the project identified that there was a lack of LGBT services in the Torfaen area. With the help of the hub coordinators, we have set up a hub in Torfaen to develop LGBT workshops through the Sex Matters Too project. I led on the development and delivery of a small youth-led project to gather evidence on the provision of LGBT services in the Torfaen area. This experience has helped to boost my confidence and has given me the drive to develop my volunteering further.
I have been given the opportunity to become a hub coordinator on the Sex Matters Too project: this involves supporting other young volunteers and delivering workshops across Torfaen. This is something I am looking forward to after my exams – I can’t wait to put all my new skills from volunteering to good use supporting others.
In June 2016 I was named Young Volunteer of the Year by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA). I was invited to attend an awards event at Cardiff castle, and was presented with my award by Sian Lloyd from BBC News and Chief Executive of the WCVA Ruth Marks. At the end of the same year, I was given a Diana Award at the Inspire Wales ceremony at Cardiff City Hall.
Volunteering has provided me with the opportunity to further my skills and push myself as an individual. These opportunities would not have come my way without participating in the Sex Matters Too Project – I have learnt so many things that I can use to further my development in the future.