Victoria’s largest online and phone based LGBTIQ counselling and referral service welcomed a new home this week, becoming the latest’s tenant in a growing list of inclusive organisations at the Victorian Pride Centre.
“After 28 years Switchboard has a new home,” said Switchboard CEO Joe Ball, “We are excited about the security that the Pride Centre brings to the essential work we do.”
“We provide suicide prevention, family violence prevention, elders social inclusion and mental health and wellbeing services for the LGBTIQA+ community, and we look forward to bringing these services into the Centre and being housed alongside other essential and leading Victorian LGBTIQA+ organisations.”
The administrative and outreach services of Switchboard will be located at the centre, including their Out & About program, which connects older LGBTI people across Victoria who would benefit from increased social connections with friendly and trained volunteer visitors.
This is a big step up from this time last year when the organisations peer service had its’ federal funding cut and was petitioning to have it reinstated. After a review, the federal government announced in March they would provide $122,500 so that the Out and About LGBTIQA+ Visitors Scheme can continue to bring community to people, reducing ageism through intergenerational friendships.
“With the festive season already upon us, it is an important reminder that Switchboard services are essential to our community. The Pride Centre will provide a stable and sustainable home for decades to come.” said Victorian Pride Centre Chair Jude Munro AO as she handed over the third symbolic to the Switchboard team.
“Switchboard services are open every day of the year including Christmas and New Years, and we are very pleased to be able to house the team that supports the volunteers who listen to and support our communities through tough times.”
Switchboard was recognized for its significant work early this year as the organization was awarded for ‘Protecting our Community’ at the Globe Community Awards.
With over 180 volunteers supported by a small staff, Switchboard delivers peer based and professional support services for the LGBTIQ community across Victoria and in collaboration with national agency Qlife.
“Connection and Community is at the heart of Switchboard’s peer support services,” said Switchboard Chair, Sarah Marlowe, “The Victorian Pride Centre will create a fabulous place where LGBTIQA+ people and our families can come to connect and find community.”
“Housing our administration in the Pride Centre gives Switchboard an exciting opportunity to strengthen our connection with other LGBTIQA+ organisations and with members of our diverse communities. We can’t wait”
Due to open late 2020, the Pride Centre will provide visitors from around the state country and the world with access to technology, resources and essential health and social services that will build connection and shared learning opportunities for us all.