switchboardLondon Lesbian & Gay Switchboard (LLGS) has been named Community Group of the Year at the Attitude Awards 2014.

Answering more than 30,000 calls a year, the organisation is run by volunteers and provides a confidential listening service for LGBT people and their friends and families.

LLGS is the oldest gay and lesbian helpline in the UK, and this year celebrated its 40th anniversary. Since being founded in March 1974, the switchboard’s volunteers have taken calls from more than than million people.

One of the service’s users was Sherlock  and Doctor Who star Mark Gatiss, who rang the helpline as a teenager and is now a patron for the charity, and presented the award to LLGS tonight.

“We imagine in 2014 that all battles have been won, but really there’s no substitute for picking up the phone and talking to someone,” the 47-year-old said.

The Queen sent a message of congratulations to the group ahead of its 40th birthday earlier this year – the first time Her Majesty has acknowledged LGBT support services in her 62-year reign.

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