Another Way L.G.B.T social and support group recieve support from HIV team in Walsall

Posted in 18+, Achievement, Community Spirit, Courage/Inspirational, Family/Friends, Female, Male, Non-fiction, Short Stories, UK
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“Another Way” is the response of its members to recent changes in the way that Walsall Men’s Health Project (now Walsall HIV Team) provides services. Choosing to find ‘another way’ to organise and continue to provide the benefits that they had gained from the project for themselves and others as a third sector group, rather than see those benefits disappear. Walsall Men’s Health Project has been established for over 10 years providing HIV/Sexual Health interventions to Gay and Bisexual men and their female partners. One of the earlier issues in providing resources, information and support to all members of this broad group, was the isolation and stigma felt by many men who for various reasons found they could not access the commercial Gay scene where much of our work took place. To meet this need we set up what was then called the Saturday Group. A group where men could drop-in, meet and socialize in a safe venue where advice and resources
where available that aimed to reduce their HIV risks. Over the years this evolved into a social group meeting three times per week that attacted men and women from many social and economic backgrounds, including members identi$ring as straight or transgendered and those living with HIV. The group also took referrals to help socialise gay and bisexual men with learning difficulties. As you can understand the culture of the group evolved quite naturally into a fully accepting and inclusive group through shared experience and support with many excellent reports of benefit from users. The group had its own keys to our premises and the most active members undertook volunteer training. Another Way is the only group that I feel I can safely refer HIV positive clients to without them being treated as different or risking their confidence. As my work still includes working in commercial venues I need volunteers to ensure my safety as a lone outreach worker, to act as a link into a community I work with, to help disseminate information and to help recruit the public for our community HIV
testing clinics we provide in partnership with the NHS. I still use Chris Edwards, Matt Nolan, David Boyce, Kimberly Mills and Phil Baker On a regular basis and I could not do much of that work without their help.
To this end I see Another Way as avital link into a community that is most affected by HIV, As well as vital in the social support of isolated Walsall residents living with HIV and would therefore, fully support any initiative by them that helps secure, improve or expand the group.
Yours truly,
Colin Moris
HIV Team