Press release

HIV charity wins Prime Minister's Big Society Award

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A charity that supports children, young people and adults with HIV is the latest to win a Big Society Award.

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Body & Soul, a charity which supports children, teenagers and adults living with HIV in the UK is the latest winner of a Big Society Award, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

The charity has built up a community of more than 4,000 members who register to join the community and use the services. Body & Soul’s 5 core programmes are divided into age groups: children 0 to 9, 10 to 12, teenagers, younger adults and adults – and are designed to reduce the isolation and stress that can come with an HIV diagnosis.

A holistic approach is taken with the charity offering tailored interventions for mental and physical health, and practical support as required including work placements, internships, volunteering opportunities with matched external partners, and skills development sessions for adults and teenagers.

The announcement comes ahead of their annual end of year celebration for the young people. Over the last couple of weeks, more than 200 company volunteers from firms across The City volunteer at Body & Soul to makeover their office for a winter wonderland theme. It is an opportunity for members to reflect on how far they have come over the past year and look to the future.

A small team of 14 staff are bolstered by over 250 regular volunteers who get involved in different ways depending on their areas of interest, experience and skills: trained lawyers provide legal clinics for members, dance, music and singing teachers run group workshops with all age-groups and certified complimentary therapists provide a range of therapies aimed at improving wellbeing and reducing stress.

Living with HIV

All volunteers at Body & Soul are trained to facilitate and support the delivery of a range of group and individual workshops from paired reading with a child, to supporting an adult to improve their IT skills, with initial training about both Body & Soul and the specific challenges faced by the age-group they are focusing on, and ongoing training particularly in areas such as HIV knowledge and managing challenging behaviour.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Thanks to an incredible 250-strong workforce of volunteers from all walks of life, Body & Soul helps with everything from legal advice, to taking up a new hobby.

I’m delighted to announce they have won a Big Society Award for this invaluable work to support people living with HIV, their friends and their families.

Director and founder of Body & Soul, Emma Colyer MBE, said:

Body & Soul is honoured to be recognised with a Big Society Award. Living with HIV can be exceptionally isolating. Body & Soul has nurtured a resilient community where members can inspire and support each other in a safe, confidential space where they can share their hopes and anxieties, triumphs and challenges.

A key element of Body & Soul’s philosophy is participation. We would like to dedicate this award to all of the volunteers who make it possible for Body & Soul to continue. The impact of their skills and expertise and their commitment to social change is at the very heart of Body & Soul. Their impact transforms lives.

Find out more about the Big Society Awards.

Published 13 January 2014