Positively UK provides peer-led support, advocacy and information to everyone living with HIV to manage any aspect of their diagnosis, care and life with HIV. Working in partnership with the NHS our peer work is integrated at clinics across London. 

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Positively UK provides peer-led support, advocacy and information to everyone living with HIV to manage any aspect of their diagnosis, care and life with HIV. Working in partnership with the NHS our peer work is integrated at clinics across London. 

Project 100

Living with and managing HIV can be challenging for many people. Whether it’s coming to terms with a new diagnosis, starting or changing treatment, managing relationships or talking about HIV.

dealing with Diagnosis

Our recently diagnosed weekend workshops are here to help you gain a better understanding of HIV, talk about treatment options and discuss living with HIV as part of everyday life.

Women’s Space

Living with HIV isn’t something you have to deal with on your own. Our Women’s Room group  meets the second Wednesday of every month.

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Recently Diagnosed?

Have you tested HIV positive for the first time in the last 18 months? We know that being diagnosed with HIV can be a worrying and confusing time. With our programme of workshops, one to one support and groups, help is never far away.Our recently diagnosed weekend workshops are here to help you gain a better understanding of HIV, talk about treatment options and discuss living with HIV as part of everyday life. You’ll also meet other people in a similar position, facing the same kind of concerns. For further informations and dates, click the button below

Need to know more?

1-TO-1 PEER SUPPORT

Using our network of trained peer mentors, we’ll match you with someone who has been through similar issues as you and can give you the individual support you need. Whether you need a one off session or something ongoing, we can tailor support that’s right for you. All our peer mentors are living with HIV themselves and are trained to provide a comprehensive package of emotional and practical support around all aspects of living with HIV. For more information please click below.

Want to become a peer mentor?

If you would like to develop new skills and use your own experience to support people living with HIV why don’t you consider training to become a peer mentor? For more details contact Garry Brough on 020 7713 0444 or email gbrough@positivelyuk.org. For information about other volunteering opportunities with us please email info@positivelyuk.org.

What's in for you?

The benefits and positive outcomes of peer support for patients are already evident in clinics where Patient Representatives are employed and has been demonstrated by our Homerton Hospital pilot project. With the ongoing cost pressures within the NHS, it is crucial that health care providers spend their time on those areas which require their clinical expertise, and not the day-to-day ‘living with’ issues that can potentially take up much of a consultation. Task-shifting via peer-led interventions has long been shown to be both cost-effective and beneficial to patients (both those receiving and delivering the support) in developing countries. In-house peer support has the potential to provide a win/win scenario for patients and clinicians. It also creates stronger links and referral pathways to your local voluntary sector organisations, who are often best equipped to deal with issues such as benefits, housing and immigration.

training

Partner NHS providers can refer potential or existing volunteers to our Peer Mentor training and access our Volunteer Coordination training. Training is delivered via a combination of face-to-face peer delivered teaching (approximately 2.5 days) and online learning modules. We provide peer mentor training in sites across the UK to maximise the potential for national coverage.

National Voices recent report: ‘Peer Support – what is it and does it work’ brought together evidence from over 1000 research studies on the topic. While the report finds that more evidence is needed for the wider impact of peer support, Project 100 will utilise proven strategies and methods to ensure robust and effective support. Furthermore, the programme will be fully evaluated to demonstrate cost effectiveness as well as positive outcomes for mentors and mentees alike.

The easiest way to ensure that every person diagnosed with HIV has access to support would be to provide all HIV clinics with dedicated peer mentors. Healthcare professionals would then refer those patients who are newly diagnosed, about to start treatment, or who would simply benefit from talking to someone else living with HIV about their experiences.

Project 100 will partner with clinical services and voluntary sector organisations to create clear and effective referral pathways and line management responsibilities. We will also provide training for local voluntary sector organisations and clinics on how to manage and support peer mentors, both inside and out of the clinic. Given the continuing rise in number of people living and growing older with HIV and the move towards greater integration of health and social care services, Project 100 is perfectly placed to support people to live well with HIV.

Who are the beneficiaries for your project?

  • Will you be working with men and women?
  • Are you targeting a specific demographic e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality?
  • Are you considering all the groups of people living with HIV in your area?

-evidence-for-peer-support

How many people will benefit and where are they?

  • How many people living with HIV are living in the area you are working in?
  • If you have a particular target group – how many people in that group are living in the area you are working in?
  • Are you excluding any groups of people living with HIV?
  • How easy will it be for your target group to access your project?

Who are the beneficiaries for your project?

  • Will you be working with men and women?
  • Are you targeting a specific demographic e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality?
  • Are you considering all the groups of people living with HIV in your area?

-evidence-for-peer-support

What other HIV Services exist in your area?

  • Are there any other services for people living with HIV are there in your area and what kind of support are they offering?
  • Are the services run through a clinic and/or a local organisation?
  • Is there potential for you to work together?
What are your Peer Supporters going to do?

You should know what your Peer Supporters are going to do at the project planning stage and this needs to be clear in your recruitment strategy. The kind of peer support you are intending to offer will affect the skills and experience you are looking for. You need to recruit appropriately and according to need. If your support is online only, you will need people with the accompanying IT skills. If you are only developing group support for MSM, you will be hoping to attract people in this category. If you are hoping to develop both group and one-to-one support, you will want people with both group facilitation and one-to-one skills. If your project is going to be delivered in a range of settings, your Peer Supporters will need to be able/willing to meet with people in, for example, community spaces. Clarity regarding your project is a recruitment tool; the clearer you are at this stage, the more likely you are to attract the right type of people and the less work you will have to do at this stage.

What competencies should your Peer Supporters be able to develop?

There are areas of skills and knowledge that you would expect Peer Supporters to have some understanding of – but that can be developed in training. For HIV peer support, you will be looking for people with the potential to develop competencies including:

  • Basic knowledge of HIV and treatments, including how to talk to other people about your HIV status and potential reaction
  • Insight into wellbeing and self-management strategies
  • Understanding the importance of self-care
  • Ability to demonstrate practical knowledge of sexual health
  • Recognise diversity and know how to work with this
  • Ability to manage risk and carry out risk assessments, ensuring everyone is kept safe
  • Effective listening and communication skills
  • Understanding of confidentiality and boundaries
  • Understanding of safeguarding
  • Understanding of monitoring and ability to maintain accurate records
  • Understanding of SMART goal setting and action planning and able to support mentees to set goals and action plan

The above competencies feature in The National Standards for Peer Support in HIV as part of the toolkit for effective Peer Supporters. Download a copy here.

For your project, you will decide what competencies your peer supporters need, depending on the type of support you are offering and the activities involved. You may find that you do not need or want to include all of the above competencies. These are intended as a guide only for good practice.

Have you written your role description?

You will need a clear role description to give to people interested in offering peer support at application stage. This does not have to be a complicated document – in fact a concise document (no longer than two sides), clearly written is not only easier to read, but more likely to be read. A template role description can be found here.Your role description should include the following information:

  • Project name
  • Title of role
  • Location of role (i.e. at organisation/external)
  • Ideal time commitment
  • Name/job title of person supervising Peer Supporters
  • Overall purpose of role
  • Main tasks of the role
  • Any vetting requirements for the role (e.g. DBS)

You should also include a person specification. This defines the role and outlines what you need. It also helps you in your recruitment as it will include a set of criteria for the role that you can use as part of your assessment.For a Peer Support Volunteer role, your specification should include:

NHS Providers

What’s in it for you?

The benefits and positive outcomes of peer support for patients are already evident in clinics where Patient Representatives are employed and has been demonstrated by our Homerton Hospital pilot project. With the ongoing cost pressures within the NHS, it is crucial that health care providers spend their time on those areas which require their clinical expertise, and not the day-to-day ‘living with’ issues that can potentially take up much of a consultation. Task-shifting via peer-led interventions has long been shown to be both cost-effective and beneficial to patients (both those receiving and delivering the support) in developing countries. In-house peer support has the potential to provide a win/win scenario for patients and clinicians. It also creates stronger links and referral pathways to your local voluntary sector organisations, who are often best equipped to deal with issues such as benefits, housing and immigration.

Training

Partner NHS providers can refer potential or existing volunteers to our Peer Mentor training and access our Volunteer Coordination training. Training is delivered via a combination of face-to-face peer delivered teaching (approximately 2.5 days) and online learning modules. We provide peer mentor training in sites across the UK to maximise the potential for national coverage.

Need more informations?

Living with HIV? Want to talk?

We can help. We are positive.

Tip: Your plan does not have to be over complicated – it just needs to be clear, to you and to your audience. A realistic plan that accurately describes what you plan to do, why and how you plan to do it and how much it will cost increases your chances of securing funding.

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Peer support is a relationship in which people see each other as equal partners and where the focus is on mutual learning and growth.