As part of a celebration of LGBTQ History Month, volunteer David Russell outlined why he got involved with the Dons Local Action Group.
David, a member of the LGBTQ community, recently started volunteering for DLAG and he would recommend it to anyone.
Below is a Q&A with David, who is pictured doing a volunteering shift outside Sainsbury’s in Wimbledon.
What do you do in DLAG?
I am a new volunteer and so far I have done a few shifts outside Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s in Wimbledon. One morning was extremely cold, so I quickly learned the importance of layered clothing and extra socks!
Why did you choose to volunteer?
I already volunteer as a trustee for a charity called Remap, which provides bespoke disability aids to help disabled people live better quality lives. We do it through a network of about 1,000 retired engineers who enjoy problem solving. I wanted to volunteer for a charity where I could be closer to the frontline action, rather than steering the overall charity. DLAG fits perfectly as it is within the community I live and any shopper could not fail to see the amazing work of the charity. Of course, I had not thought that frontline would mean cold and wet on occasions!
Were you aware of AFC Wimbledon before joining DLAG and did it influence your decision to join up?
I was aware of the club before joining. I have lived in Wimbledon and Kingston for a combination of 35 years. In the 1990s I took part in a lot of amateur musicals alongside Jane Lonsdale, who I know plays a big part at the club. My decision to join was largely based on witnessing the great work done by DLAG outside supermarkets in Wimbledon. In terms of my football interest I grew up in Edinburgh and my older brother was (and still is) a big Hearts fan. My interest was more arts related – shocking for a gay man, who hadn’t quite worked that part out!
I always had the sense that Wimbledon was a club with ambition and, of course, the supporters had to persevere with the difficulty of not having its own ground for a long time. It feels like a club strongly associated with the community and the DLAG is a marvellous example of that, with very few limitations – beyond having enough volunteers to share the work.
What’s your biggest achievement?
Quite a wide question, which would previously have had the answer of some fancy career achievement, which is sad really! Right now, it’s getting through the various lockdowns and keeping my sanity – well more or less! In reality, the pandemic has made many of us think about life and what’s important.
What’s your top tip to share?
If you can get out there and do something for others then go for it. It doesn’t need to be a massive thing or take up loads of your time. The feedback you get gives you satisfaction and just being in the fresh air gives a massive boost to your mental health.
For more information about Dons Local Action Group, including how you can help and volunteering, visit the website .