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WorkPride Keynote: Connecting with the Community Through the Power of Volunteering

NCVO defines volunteering as any activity that involves spending time, usually unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives. Central to this definition is the fact that volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual.

This can include formal activity undertaken through public, private and voluntary organisations as well as informal community participation and social action.

In this panel discussion, we will hear from volunteers and community organisations that have relied on volunteers for their very survival.

The discussion will highlight the benefits to all involved for the greater good of the LGBTQ+ community in the UK.

              • Professor Sue Sanders from Schools OUT UK will highlight how her organisation has been solely powered by volunteers.
              • Lukasz Konieczka will share his experience of using volunteer mentors to support LGBTQ+ young persons

                      • Andreena Leeanne will share her experience of volunteering for Stonewall Housing and running Poetry LGBT with no funding. 

                      In Partnership With


                      • M
                        Alex Enness-Laporte
                        Alex Enness-Laporte
                        Sales Operations Manager,
                        Alex joined EY in 2014 and is an Assistant Director in Sales Operations for the Consultancy part of the business. Her career has progressed through many industries, including Hospitality, Aged Care, Upstream Oil & Gas, Insurance and IT. She was also the EY UK&I LGBT+ Network Co-Chair from 2018 to 2021. She originates from Melbourne, Australia, and has lived in London since 1999.
                      • Aritha Wickramasinghe
                        Aritha Wickramasinghe
                        Lawyer, policy expert, human rights activist.
                        I am an international banking and real estate finance solicitor with substantial experience in providing premium advice and assistance on some of the largest international transactions in the market. I have always been a champion of diversity and equality in the workplace and lead and support a number of diversity and social mobility initiatives in the UK and Globally. I believe that people perform their best when they are free to be themselves. In order to encourage personal development and productivity growth, we need to create environments at work and elsewhere which encourages individuality and discourages prejudice. I believe in giving back to the community. I have initiated and contribute towards a variety of pro bono work across the world. I am a founding director of iProbono's Justice Programme, an organisation that connects civil society with pro bono legal help across the world and I am a founding trustee of THINK EQUAL - a new UN Human Rights Office endorsed education initiative that is working with countries to introduce a new subject into schools teaching children social and emotional intelligence. Over the next several years, I wish to continue my legal development. I want to develop a sound and niche knowledge of financial transactions with a projects and real estate focus while seeking exposure to emerging and frontier markets. Pro bono and diversity will remain a passion and I intend on continuing the development of my pro bono and diversity portfolio. Specialties: Finance, Real Estate Finance, Diversity networks, Pro bono iniatives, Human Rights and Public Policy
                      • M
                        Sue Sanders
                        Sue Sanders
                        SCHOOLS OUT UK
                        I am Professor Emeritus of the Harvey Milk Institute, the founder of LGBT History Month UK and the website The Classroom which has over 100 lesson plans that usulaise LGBT people, issues and concepts across the curriculum, for all ages and adheres to the national curriculum. My passion is to educate OUT prejudice and enable LGBT+ people in all their diversity to be visible safe and proud. I am an out and proud lesbian activist who been around for over 40 years! I am the chair of Schools OUT UK a charity that organises LGBT+ History Month UK, The Classroom and the international LGBT History Festival OUTing the Past. I am also a member of the Independent Advisory Group to the Government on Hate Crime.
                      • M
                        Andreena Leeanne
                        Andreena Leeanne
                        Lived Experience Speaker & Poet
                        Poetry LGBT Open Mic Night
                        Andreena Leeanne, is a Black Lesbian Lived Experience Speaker, Workshop Facilitator & Poet. She writes and performs poetry to come to terms with and speak out about her personal experiences with homelessness, mental health, childhood sexual abuse & the many other challenges she has faced in her life. In January 2015 Andreena founded Poetry LGBT Open Mic Night. Poetry LGBT is a warm and welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community to come together to share their experiences & creativity through poetry and spoken word. Andreena recently started Adult Survivors Open Mic for survivors of abuse to share their story through poetry. Andreena delivers self-care writing workshops online and in person. During these structured workshops the participants are encouraged to explore what self-care means to them especially during these challenging times. Andreena has performed her poetry at various community-led events, Labour Party events and for Local Authorities such as London Borough Hackney during LGBT History Month, the Greater London Authority and at International Women’s Day events; and has had her work published in the anthology Sista! (Team Angelica, 2018). Her debut poetry collection CHARRED has also been published by Team Angelica October 2020. In 2018 She was one of Stonewall’s Black History Month role models. In 2020 she has been shortlisted for a Positive LGBT Role Model National Diversity Award. In 2021 Andreena became a trustee of a charity called Action Breaks Silence whose mission is to end violence against women and girls. Charred is available to purchase on Amazon and Etsy Writing Workshop brochure:
                      • Lukasz Konieczka
                        Lukasz Konieczka
                        Executive Director
                        Mosaic LGBT Young Persons' Trust
                        born in Sopot, Poland started his education at the College for Social Workers where he graduated with a specialism in community development before continuing his education doing social psychology at SWPS University. Throughout his studies, Lukasz volunteered for Amnesty International as campaign coordinator and association 'Together against AIDS' as volunteers' coordinator. Volunteering, however, butters no parsnips, so he had to work in a bank throughout his studies, he decided to move to the UK to work as a social worker. That however proved to be difficult as his qualifications although achieved with distinction were not recognised in the UK. He, therefore, worked in a nursing home in Farnborough as a head of activities department before moving to London to work for Brent Youth Services as a Mosaic Project manager. He took up any opportunity of learning offered by his employer and did qualifications in education management alongside youth work before he was made redundant and the project closed following government cuts. Lukasz however together with his colleagues founded the charity Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre that continued and expanded the work supporting, educating and inspiring LGBT+ young persons in order to shape proud, strong and cohesive LGBT+ community of the future. Lukasz describes himself as a bit of an eccentric Humanist with the passion for Equality and Human Rights. In his spare time, he volunteers on Community Advisory Board of Pride in London is a chair of the board of trustees for another charity Greater London Youth Foundation as well as volunteers as a home visitor for Refugees at Home where he says he can put into practice his strong belief that all humans have a right to dignity and decent housing. He also volunteered on the advisory board of YMCA West London for nearly two years, but his time wasn't able to stretch enough to carry on with that engagement.
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