Sunday, November 21, 2010

Visit to Sydney's GLBT Helpline

By coincidence Chris and Stu were in Sydney in November so they headed to the inner west suburb of Newtown to visit New South Wales’ gay & lesbian counselling service. Fiona Paskulich was a great host.

Here are some points that stood out:

- They take about 1300-1600 calls a year. About 60% of callers are male, 32% women and 8% Trans.
- Up to 20% of their calls come from rural areas where isolation and loneliness is a big theme.
- They have around 25-30 active counsellors in total (70 actual members).
- They support a men’s and women’s coming out group. The men’s group is changing its approach to re-energise the membership. They are also directly involved with a drug and alcohol recovery programme (not specifically GLBT).
- A separate GLBT youth organisation, Twenty10, is housed in the same building.

Chris and Stu left with the impression that the GLCS of NSW is doing a great job. Surprisingly, they are not too different to us at WGWG and are facing similar issues. It’s quite motivating to know we have sister organisations out there who are so friendly and are willing to share ideas and approaches with us.