The national LGBT+ Helpline will remain free to call as LGBT Ireland has announced a new funding partnership with SSE Airtricity.

SSE Airtricity’s Sponsorship of the National LGBT+ Helpline is the first time this vital community support has been fully funded and will enable LGBT Ireland to keep the Helpline free of charge for those who need support or to speak in confidence and without judgement.

The partnership between Ireland’s largest provider of 100% green energy and the national support service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people and their families and friends, will also allow the group to advertise further services and will support the training and vetting of LGBT Ireland volunteers.

Over the last number of years SSE has engaged in several projects to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The utility is a signatory of Business in the Community Ireland’s Elevate Pledge, committed to creating a workforce that is representative of all members of Irish society.

Announcing the partnership, Paula Fagan CEO of LGBT Ireland said: “We are thrilled to be announcing this partnership with SSE Airtricity today. The National LGBT Helpline is a vital support to LGBT+ people across the country, and to family member and friends who are seeking help and information to support their LGBT+ loved ones. The helpline can be a lifeline for people who are struggling and so it is imperative that we can provide the service free of charge to everyone that needs it. This funding through this partnership will enable us to do this and to promote our services more widely.”

Mia Fahey McCarthy, Head of Sustainability, SSE Ireland said: “Volunteer organisations like LGBT Ireland are essential to communities around Ireland and play an important part in supporting so many people. We are thrilled to be partnering with an organisation that is building an inclusive Ireland which embraces and celebrates diversity. SSE values inclusion and diversity and understands the importance of people being their true, whole self and we hope our new partnership with LGBT Ireland will help people to achieve this through availing of supports from this wonderful, volunteer organisation.”

Klair Neenan, Managing Director, SSE Airtricity said: “We are delighted to support LGBT Ireland and help them deliver the invaluable assistance they provide to people across Ireland. This partnership will help secure and deliver a vital service for everyone connected to our LGBT Communities.

As an organization that is committed to building an open and inclusive culture, we know the importance of having a safe space for people to ask questions, seek advice and speak their minds. Pride is an important day in our calendar each year where we schedule a series of talks, training and usually some fun activities too! However, for SSE being inclusive is not just a once-a-year event, our leaders complete an inclusive recruitment course before hiring and next month all of our senior managers will be attending an Inclusion & Diversity leadership programme.

I hope our support of LGBT Ireland will highlight the great work they do and bring more people to their support services. Everyone at SSE is looking forwarding to working with Paula and her team and continuing to learn about how we can be more inclusive.”

The National LGBT+ Helpline is run through a network of trained volunteers based in six local helplines across the country. They are in Cork, Galway, Mayo, Kilkenny, Dundalk and Dublin. It operates 30 hours a week, seven days a week.