Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


George House Trust supports people living with HIV in the North West, particularly Greater Manchester. We are here to help and support HIV+ people in the decisions they make to ensure that everyone living with HIV enjoys a full and healthy life.

With medication, HIV is a long-term manageable condition and a positive diagnosis is not what it once was. Sadly though, HIV+ people still experience poor mental and emotional health due to prejudice and discrimination. It is our goal to raise awareness of HIV and tackle any stigma associated with it. We believe that people living with HIV deserve to live happy, empowered and healthy lives, free from stigma and discrimination.

We need funding for our Positively Speaking project which transforms HIV+ people’s lives. The project sends George House Trust service users on a journey to becoming trained Positive Speakers. Positive Speakers tell their powerful personal stories of living with HIV to a range of audiences, including those that come in contact with HIV+ people like GP practices and sexual health clinics, and the wider community, for example in schools, housing associations, LGBT groups, and at our fundraising and awareness raising events. The aim of Positively Speaking is for audiences to increase their understanding of HIV, and to enter into a dialogue about HIV to tackle prejudice and misconceptions.

We currently have 8 male and 5 female Positive Speakers, all previous service users at George House Trust. Aviva Community funding would enable us to recruit new Positive Speakers over the next 12 months, so that more members of the public know about HIV and the challenges faced by HIV+ people.

Feedback from our Positive Speakers is overwhelmingly positive, with Speakers saying that their mental health has improved by being given a platform to share their personal experiences of how HIV has affected them. It has built their confidence to speak in public and to be part of busting HIV myths, which still prevail in many communities today. Our Positively Speaking project provides mental health benefits to people living with HIV, as well as benefits to the wider community by increasing HIV awareness and encouraging testing.

‘I signed up to the project with no idea of what to expect, turns out it was the exact support I needed. I cannot tell you what a huge impact the simple act of being able to talk about my status has had on myself. Because of George House Trust I am now looking forward to living my life, not just surviving. Your support and contributions can keep people like me talking and making a difference to people’s lives with HIV.’ (Quote from Positive Speaker)

Aviva Community funding would increase our capacity and allow the project manager to do so much more, including trying untested ideas and running new activities. The funding would allow us to:

- Engage new Positive Speakers from ‘hard to reach’ service user groups, for example black African HIV+ men;
- Further develop the project to make it suitable for our young HIV+ people;
- Offer free child care to encourage HIV+ women to become Positive Speakers;
- Explore new audiences, e.g. private companies or social care homes;
- Run at least 8 evening sessions with Positive Speakers to develop their stories. The sessions would include group Q&As and role plays to explore personal stories;
- Deliver a 4-week confidence building course to new and existing Positive Speakers, to enable them to live a more open, confident life as an HIV+ individual;
- Provide press and media training to 2-3 Positive Speakers who will act as our ambassadors and talk to the media at key opportunities.

You’ll enable HIV+ people to become Positive Speakers.
You’ll help to raise awareness of HIV and challenge HIV stigma in Greater Manchester.
You’ll help to improve the confidence and mental and emotional health of HIV+ people.

Project Video

George House Trust

I'm proud that George House Trust encourages service users to become members and have a say in how it operates. Members can be elected as Trustees. This means at all levels of the charity there is a real passion for supporting those living with or affected by HIV, and breaking down stigma.

Location: Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FX, United Kingdom