The power of friendship: Connecting older LGBTI people with community

The power of friendship: Connecting older LGBTI people with community

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Sponsored content Switchboard Victoria's Out & About program is a free community visiting service connecting older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and...

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Switchboard Victoria's Out & About program is a free community visiting service connecting older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex (LGBTI) people. Our volunteers offer safe, welcoming friendship and social connection for LGBTI seniors across Victoria. Virtual contacts and a staged return to face-to-face visits continue during COVID-19.

Being connected with community is good for our health, wellbeing and sense of self. Everyone deserves the chance to have meaningful connections with others who understand and respect our experiences and identity.

Supporting LGBTI seniors

  • Out & About is a free service of Switchboard Victoria. Being part of our program can help reduce social isolation for older LGBTI people. To take part, you need to:
  • be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex (or unsure/questioning), AND
  • live anywhere in Victoria, AND
  • be approved for or receiving a Home Care Package at home, OR Living in residential aged care*.

*From time to time we have some places for LGBTI people aged 60+ (50+ Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander, living with HIV or trans/gender diverse) who don't meet the criteria above. Contact us to enquire or learn about services similar to Out & About.

Anyone can make a referral easily online, by phone, email or post. Contact us by ringing the Rainbow Door on 1800 729 367 or Out & About Program Manager on 0466 218 921 (Monday to Thursday, 9am-5pm). Email: outandabout@switchboard.org.au

Watch ABC Life's story about Out & About friends Clynton and Haydn: https://youtu.be/BmaiO_PnSXQ

Follow us on Facebook or sign up for our quarterly newsletter to keep up-to-date.

Connecting through COVID-19

COVID-19 challenges us all to find new ways of keeping connections alive. Now more than ever, services that support seniors to overcome social isolation are critical. For many older LGBTI people, being unable to access culturally safe supports increases the impact of coronvirus isolation.

Many LGBTI older people have no connection with biological family and/or communities of origin. Most have lived a large part of their lives where concealment of their identities was the only protection from stigma and discrimination. Some have limited mobility, live with chronic illness, disability or dementia, or are fearful of accessing services they need. Others are unable to use the phone, email or web-chat and/or may speak a language other than English.

Through Switchboard Victoria's Out & About program, friendships are nurtured. Volunteers are screened, receive training and supervision, and are updated weekly about COVID-19 safe requirements.

Phone visits, letters, cards and online visits (where possible) have temporarily replaced face to face visits. Care packages and letter writing campaigns carry messages of support from staff, volunteers and communities. We are ready to return to in-person visits as soon as it is safe to do so.

Watch ABC Life's story of ageless CVS friendships during COVID-19: www.facebook.com/watch/?v=263481228113941

LGBTI Community Visitors Schemes operate in all states of Australia. For information about non-LGBTI programs, contact Esis Tawfik at or call Esis Tawfik on 0421 330 230, cvs@smrc.org.au or call 0421 330 230.

Out & About is funded by Australian Government Department of Health and RACV Community Foundation.

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