Last week I visited Positive Help, a charity supporting people with HIV and Hep C and their families. It was great to speak to staff and volunteers to discuss the range of support provided.
It was inspiring to hear about the work Positive Help provides – through transport to hospital, home support, buddying, and befriending. Medical advances mean that medication can give people with HIV longer lives, but many experience long term health issues such as arthritis, dementia or sensory losses. That makes work impossible for many and means people are stuck on benefits and can become increasingly isolated. The Home Support team visit people and provide back up and help with household tasks such as cleaning or help with things that become too difficult such as shopping or gardening.
4,000 lifts to hospital are provided every year by 6-7 volunteer drivers through the Supportive Transport Team. This is a vital service since many people with HIV or Hep C are not able to travel easily by public transport.
The support for children from Study Buddies and the Children and Young People’s Befriending services was inspiring.
Although much of the prejudice that people used to suffer has gone there are still many families who wish to keep their condition private because of their fears about how their children might be affected. The befrienders support children giving them the chance for social experiences such as visiting the cinema or museums that they would otherwise miss out on. It was moving hearing about the nutritional problems some children experience which affects their capacity to get on at school and the success achieved helping children with homework was inspiring.
The project has 70 volunteers and is always looking for more people to get involved.
If you want to find out more about the project you can get in touch at http://www.
On one level the visit was a break from the campaign trail, but issues such as support for people with HIV and Hep C, educational attainment and the resources available to teachers to give extra help to vulnerable children have been the subject of national campaigning so it was great to see for myself the work being done locally to provide practical support.