HIV charity Lunch Positive and Brighton loneliness charity Together Co are thrilled to announce their new partnership to launch a befriending scheme for people over 50 who are living with HIV in Brighton & Hove.
The scheme will match people living with HIV with like-minded volunteers, to develop supportive friendships that will help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Despite vast medical advancements in treatments for HIV, living with HIV as a long-term medical condition can still be challenging, and is sometimes lonely and isolating.
As people live healthier and longer lives, the number of people ageing with HIV has also increased. In the UK, over half of all people with HIV are now approaching or aged 50 years and more.
Safe and supportive friendships, together with the highest regard for confidentiality, underpin the scheme, and staff will be looking to match people based on the needs and interests of the members. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, conversations will initially be phone based, rather than in person, until government advice changes. When circumstances allow, people can meet face-to-face and further develop friendships.
Gary Pargeter, service manager at Lunch Positive said: “We know from experience that supportive and enjoyable friendships can change lives. We also know that finding and establishing friendship is not always easy, and the impact of Covid-19 has become another challenge.
“Social connections and friendships can make such a meaningful difference to everyone involved and we’re dedicated to supporting this in the HIV community. Please do get in touch if you would like to take part in this scheme, and please help spread the word to others.”
If you are looking for a befriender, the scheme is open to anyone living with HIV who is also aged over 50 and based in Brighton & Hove. Please get in touch with Lunch Positive to find out more or register here.
To join the Together Co as a volunteer befriender, please apply here and mention the Lunch Positive scheme in your application. Volunteering is open to anyone, regardless of HIV status or age.