Community News

“The plan is to work with Sussex Beacon to create a future for Peer Action’s legacy to continue.” Statement released on the future of Peer Action

Graham Robson April 27, 2022

Andy Baldwin, Chair of Peer Action, has released a statement on the future of the grassroots charity, which supports people living with HIV in Brighton & Hove and surrounding areas in the UK.

“As we all know, recent times have brought about changes and challenges to everyone, both individually and collectively. During this period Peer Action has continued to offer activities as much as possible to promote well-being for the people in our community, via yoga and swimming for example. These are still ongoing, as well as other opportunities, and I invite you to try them out if you haven’t already. Full information about this is below in the newsletter.

“Unsurprisingly, Peer Action has seen a large reduction in people coming forward to get involved as volunteers, for organising events and for running the organisation as a trustee. Towards the end of 2021 Peer Action faced immediate closure due to not having a Chairperson, but this was fortunately prevented. The new task ahead became to investigate the possibilities for Peer Action’s future within the current climate.

“As the new Chair, I was hoping to rejuvenate Peer Action and strengthen the mission to promote well-being for all in mind, body and spirit. I looked into and prepared a report on the local voluntary sector, especially organisations closely connected to the aims of Peer Action. This examination revealed a similar situation; a need for more volunteers, more trustees and more resources. Considering the limited amount of people available for these roles in general, the predicament of Peer Action and the almost universal need across all organisations, it became clear that the conditions for us to rebuild are not present, nor can we sustain the ongoing situation.

“On this basis, the trustees held many discussions and decided the best way to ensure activities can keep going and increase to former levels and beyond, is by transferring our operations. This also means ceasing as an independent organisation. In reality, we still do not have enough people on the committee to run Peer Action and it is not sustainable.

“The plan, as announced at our recent Annual General Meeting, is to work with Sussex Beacon to create a future for Peer Action’s legacy to continue. I have been meeting with the Beacon’s Executive Director, their trustees are in support and a proposal has been outlined. Our most experienced and longstanding trustees will be working with Sussex Beacon trustees on a steering group to make this happen.

“The aim is to maintain activities we currently have on offer without interruption, reintroduce previous ones and, importantly, to continue as a distinct, member led programme. This opportunity and development will provide us with access to volunteer support, funding opportunities, more communication channels, other activities and many other resources the Sussex Beacon has available.

“A joint statement about our intentions and plans will be issued shortly from Peer Action and Sussex Beacon, so check our websites soon for more details on that. We hope you will join us in our new direction, take advantage of old activities, such as our popular therapy days and get involved with your own ideas in the future.”

Andy Baldwin, Chair of Peer Action