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April 6, 2020
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No one could have believed in the last few days of February that within a month Chrysalis would have all our support services online, but thanks to the hard work of all our facilitators and especially Maximillian, Julie and Steph I am so very proud to tell you that the first ever online Chrysalis support group ran on Friday evening and more are planned soon.

Today’s blog is all about celebration, about looking forward, about saying thank you to those who have gone above and beyond and performed some fantastic feats of volunteering.

Chrysalis volunteers have not only continued to go about their standard volunteering, pulling out all the stops to get the support and counselling online they have also been calling every single one of our group members, and finding out what additional support we can offer. For some this lockdown has been a chance to relax, take the pressure off trying to conform, for others it has been torture. But for everyone Chrysalis has been there. We are there for our trans people, for our non-binary people, for those who are questioning, for parents, for partners, for good friends, carers and grandparents. Chrysalis volunteers are now providing one-to-one support to 60 of our most vulnerable people to the tune of an additional 26 hours of volunteering per week! You are all truly incredible.

A special thanks goes to Steffi Challice, Mike Fox, Jodie Beazley and Olly Tew. You stepped up and have most definitely gone above and beyond.

Another thank you goes to the Chrysalis board members: Deanna, Steph, Jon, Paul, Scott and Sammy who met with me on Thursday night. I would like to assure you that no one turned themselves into a potato and we are now considerably more competent at online meetings than we were even a few days before. The board have asked me to pass on their thanks to all our volunteers and staff for the hard work that has gone into our online transformation. The board have approved: the suspension of all subs for April – for counselling and the support groups – to give us time to devise and embed our new systems and ways of working; the development of our online services, which will continue after the reopening of our face-to-face support services; the provision of online counselling by our therapists in accordance with BACP guidelines relating to the Covid-19 crisis. The board further agreed to consider the development of a monthly subscription model for access to Chrysalis services and to the longer term goal of developing into a national support organisation.

A final thank you for this week goes to this beast

Andi’s treadmill, folded up in the corner of the living room

which has rather taken over my living room. Yep – you see that right, it’s a treadmill! Time to get fit. Exercise indoors is becoming the norm for so many of us at the moment and I’m trying to walk to work each day as well as picking up on the Couch to 5k app.

So what’s on for this week? Firstly it’s time to tidy up the processes for allocating and contracting with new counselling clients. Our counsellors are busy contracting with their existing clients, with many having space for a new client or two.

Next it’s time for me to work on some training myself so that I can deliver our first ever virtual Trans Awareness course to some of our new volunteers next week.

On Wednesday I’ve got supervision with four of your counsellors and then Thursday is the first ever Chrysalis Coffee Club, for all our volunteers. The one rule of Coffee Club? There is not Chrysalis talk, it’s somewhere for us to connect with other humans and do human stuff. Chill, chat and relax.

Friday is a bank holiday, and you know what I’m going to do? Absolutely nothing! I may even do that nothing in the garden. Bring on the sunshine, flooding through my window and highlighting the hard work my talented neighbour has put into fixing his pipework, warming the house up and giving me a chance to top up my vitamin D receptors.

Take care everyone, check in with us if you need us or just want to say hi. Speak to you next Tuesday.

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