We Love Our Volunteers: Meet Joan

Volunteer’s Week starts today and we want to take the opportunity to thank our amazing team of volunteers. 

Right now, we can’t meet to thank you in person. The events and initiatives that we all love and you support us to deliver have been cancelled or postponed. It’s a really hard time, but we want to say thank you, for all that you do. 

The time you give and skills you share take us closer every day to our objective to make the Liverpool City Region the most LGBT+ friendly in the UK.

Credit: Brian-D-Hanlon

Right now, due to the global health crisis, our volunteer programme is closed, so we can ensure the health and safety of all of those who support us. But we will be back.

While we wait for a time when we restart the programme, we wanted to introduce you to our lead volunteers. Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to some of our lead volunteers, starting with Joan Burnett, Lead Volunteer and Programmer for Film with Pride.

So tell us a bit about yourself…

“My name’s Joan and I live in Wavertree but I’m originally from New Brighton and still have a real love of the place. During normal times, I work as the Visitor Services Manager at FACT in Liverpool. However, like many venue staff across the country I’m on furlough at this time, so have been enjoying watching short films for our online Film with Pride programme, as I have a bit more time than usual!”

What does your volunteer role for LCR Pride Foundation involve?

“I’m a programmer for the Film with Pride programme. Normally we screen films with [email protected], so I watch feature films and shorts to see what will be fun for our audiences. I keep up with new releases and visit film festivals either in person or online to see what’s new out there. We try to balance new films from around the world with classics to ensure that diverse voices are heard and films that wouldn’t be seen in Liverpool otherwise get an audience.”

How long have you been a volunteer and how did you get into it?

“I started volunteering for Liverpool Pride in 2010 and worked on the very first event. I was on the board and helped to create our arts and films programmes. I did start volunteering earlier than that though. Back in 2006, I was at a loose end and feeling very low. I got involved in Outsiders, Liverpool’s Queer Film Festival I found it really helpful for my mental health to be active and that was where my interest in LGBT+ film specifically stemmed from. I only went in to lick the stamps for the mailing list and look what happened!”

Why do you volunteer?

“I like to keep my brain active! Art, film, theatre, dance and music are all central to my world and being able to contribute a little bit feels really good. I’ve met some amazing people through volunteering and made some really lovely friends. I’m thinking of you, Alan!”

What is the best thing about volunteering?

“Feeling connected. It’s very easy to feel isolated and thinking about something other than yourself and your worries is very important. I love the creativity in the films I watch and I love finding out about other cultures and attitudes. LGBT+ films are made all over the world and they feel like a window on other people’s lives.”

What is your best volunteering memory?

“Wow – there are so many! Liverpool’s first Pride is hard to beat in terms of meaningfulness, but also the mad Eurovision nights with other volunteers and Picturehouse staff come pretty close, not to mention meeting some great filmmakers who I would never have met otherwise, like Francis Lee of God’s Own Country.”

What advice would you give to someone thinking of volunteering for LCR Pride Foundation?

“Do it! Come and do something positive for our communities and for yourself. We all need help to feel more connected emotionally. This year’s theme ‘Young At Heart’ is about staying active in all kinds of ways,and volunteering is definitely part of that.”