Switchboard runs a helpline operating as an information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay men and bisexual and trans people, as well as anyone considering issues around their sexuality or gender identity. The helpline operates from 10am to 10pm every day, and is run by a community of volunteers, all of whom identify as LGBT+. Switchboard operates according to a number of key principles:
Confidential – anything discussed during calls will not be shared outside of Switchboard.
Welcoming – Switchboard volunteers are glad to receive calls about any subject, and want to do what they can to help.
Supportive – Switchboard volunteers will provide encouragement to callers in order to help them to discuss the issues they really want to talk about.
Non-judgemental – Switchboard volunteers never judge and will do whatever they can to support callers through whatever it is they’re going through.
Every call is unique, and Switchboard prides itself on responding to the changing needs of the LGBT+ community by providing a service that’s continually evolving and relevant. No topic is off limits, and Switchboard frequently provides support on issues including coming out, relationship issues, family problems, issues at work or college, safer sex and sexual health, having sex for the first time, looking for LGBT+ venues and LGBT+ social and support groups.
Sometimes it takes a while to get to the heart of an issue, so Switchboard will never end a call until the caller wants to, giving them time to get to the main thing they really want to talk about. They also believe that callers are best placed to know their situation and the answer that’s right for them, and so will listen while callers talk through their options, empowering them by helping them to come up with their own solutions.