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Volunteering at Switchboard 5 nights a week

1984

Lyn became involved with from 1983 to 2000. I started training on the first Saturday after New Year in 1984. It was a fairly successful organisation with 20 or so regular operators. There was a separate on Wednesdays but still part of same organisation although shortly after the women became separate and most of the women left and joined . This loss of members coincided with a loss of other members who were burned out, leaving 3 regular operators. So going from 20 or more regular operators there were only 3 or 4 so I found myself going to Switchboard 4 or 5 nights week. There were easily 20 calls a night at its peak. There were a lot of regular callers who called with the same issues and some needed long term support. There were a lot of information calls such as people visiting the area and wanting to know the best bars and if there were any events on. People would call if having difficulty in coming to terms with their sexuality. was involved with the socials on a Wednesday. There was a befriending service where the caller was befriended and taken to a venue. It was open 7 nights a week from 7 till 10. It operated from someones house back in 1975 and then from the in Digbeth, when that closed in 1980 moved to the , Digbeth for a year.

Contributed by: Lyn David Thomas, 47

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