Thursday, April 29, 2010

Next Intake Day - 12 June

The following note was prepared by Chris, one of WGWG's co-chairs, for our May newsletter:

The WGWG membership statistics show even just on an administrative level how diverse we are as a group - reflecting different interests and ability to commit time. For example - assisting with Schools Out instead of being on the end of the phone helpline; having ‘associates’ who are former members still wanting contact but who can’t at present commit time.

We are always looking for new trainees for the helpline service and to help Brendan, Jo and Bill with Schools Out, Lesbian Drop-in, and Newcomers. We also have a need for people to help with fund raising (preparing applications to charities/ trusts), publicity (advertising our groups), administration, writers for this newsletter, and people to keep our internet presence lively and current (we have a Schools Out and WGWG blog, and Facebook profile).

Tell your friends about us and encourage them to get involved… The next intake day is on Saturday 12 June but we will take new folk on board as soon as they express an interest.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WGWG's Supervisor, Jane Henson

Our April training session was taken by WGWG’s supervisor, Jane Henson. Jane was introduced by Bill Logan. He said that she is who we turn to if we have “a problem” to get advice. She carries the title of Supervisor in the role of Supervising Counsellor for the WGWG Helpline. We are all able to contact her for advice if we need it – especially to get help with a caller.

Jane is a professional Counsellor, living and working in her private practice in Pukerua Bay.

Her credentials include being a Life Member of the Counsellor’s Association of New Zealand. She was Deputy Chair of the World Counsellors Association. Her career as a Counsellor began in 1978 when she was appointed to pilot a new role in New Zealand of Guidance Teacher – half teacher and half Guidance Counsellor at Wellington High School. She already loved teaching and found it was her calling to counsel as well.

Jane is the mother of three adults and recently became grandmother of her 5th grandchild after initially “not believing in grandchildren”. Her eldest gay son in the UK is father of two little girls, daughters of two lesbian couples.

From the very beginning of her counseling work at Wellington High School, where there were a large percentage of adult students, Jane has been counseling gay men. In 1984, she joined the AIDS Support Network describing the time as “hard and heartbreaking”. She remained helping with the Network until the Awhina Centre was set up. Jane also worked as head of Counselling at Wellington Polytech (Massey Wellington) and then 3 years counselling at the Medical School.

In the mid 1990’s, she and her partner Martyn went to work for VSA in Tanzania in the middle of Africa, far away from her beloved sea. Martyn came down with malaria while there and the locals kept asking “is he dead yet?” There, Jane experienced a very different Swahili-speaking culture, well outside her comfort zone. But being the odd ones out and not belonging was a great learning experience.

Jane does not set any expectations for Helpliners. She is there to help “behind the scenes” and has confidence in our being able to work through things with our callers. She still admires what WGWG does in the community. Advice? “People share themselves with you – hold their confidentiality and trust carefully. Be non-judgmental and helpful. Deal with who it is that you are talking to at the time, not who they might be affecting.”

After being thanked by Ross on behalf of WGWG, Jane’s final words were “Keep on keeping on”.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our Membership

When we kicked-off the monthly newsletter in January no one anticipated the amount of work required to tidy up our membership distribution lists. However we think we’ve got it sorted now! If you’re reading this and are directly involved with WGWG you probably fall into one of these 6 categories:

Members - Helpliners 13
Members – Non Helpliners 3
Associate Members 24
Trainees 6
Associate (inactive) Trainees 4
Prospective Trainees 1
Total 51

It’s great having such a large number of people directly involved with WGWG. If you're thinking about joining us, send an email through to

Donations to WGWG qualify for a tax rebate

WGWG is a registered charity. This means information about us is publicly available on the Charities Commission website (click here for the link). Any donations you make to WGWG qualify for a tax rebate, so you can claim 33% back from IRD. If your employer agrees, you can even donate as part of your salary deductions every payday. Our bank account details are available from our web page at Our Charitable Status Registration Number is CC29680.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lesbian Drop-In

WGWG sponsors a Lesbian Drop-In, which holds meetings from 6.00pm-7.30pm on the 1st Wednesday of the month. The contact is Jo (email or phone Jo on 021 2480954).

For our April WGWG Newsletter we asked one of the current Drop-In members to write a blurb about her experience. Here is what she wrote:

“I always thought I was alone in this fight. I am aware that there are also other gays and lesbians but I thought we fought our own fights. Joining the drop-in was one of the bravest and wisest things I have done, not only were my eyes opened to the reality that I was not alone, but I also found myself at the start of something new. We may be in different stages of our journey, but the journey is the same; to find ourselves and be happy living who we are. It takes great courage to start and go thru this journey and I am happy that I found this group. I wish the same for the other struggling gays and lesbians to be able to realise that they are not alone.”

Schools Out update for March

School's Out has been going really well with steady numbers in Wgtn and growing numbers in the Hutt. We had a great and wild time with a 'Mad Hatter Tea Party' and went to see 'Alice in Wonderland' on the 20th. This month starts off with Easter Weekend which then leads into the school holidays with some exciting events planned. Brendan

March 2010 Training Day Update

We recently held another Training Day for new help-line volunteers. Ted provided his delicious homemade soup as usual which energized our spirits throughout the process - thank you. Four keen newbies showed up, took the plunge and got to know some of the members of Queer Support Wellington. We shared some skills, introduced some role-plays, told some 'coming-out' stories to each other, had Carl talk about Safer Sex and made sure we had some laughs. I would have to say the quality of this new group of trainees is of high standard. Thank you to all our members who showed up, helped out and welcomed our new trainees. We have a few more on the waitlist, so Bill and I will let you know when the next training is scheduled.

Helpline hours reduce from 1 April 2010

The big news at WGWG is the decision at the March business meeting to reduce Helpline coverage from 7 nights a week to 4 nights a week. Starting from 1 April we'll be available Sunday through to Wednesday, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. This will be for a 3-month trial period and then we'll make a decision whether to continu...e or revert back to 7 nights a week. It’s a positive step that addresses the problem of us not having enough volunteers to be on the phones 7 days a week, 365 days a year at present. It also gives both our callers and trainees more certainty about when we’ll be available.