Highlights from the services
Group Theraplay has now been incorporated into both the HIV and adoption programmes for our youngest members. It has been embedded into the circle time session for 3-7 year olds in the HIV programme with the objective of promoting self-control and enhancing emotional wellbeing. It has also been successful in the adoption programme’s reconnection days, where the Theraplay principles of structure, engagement, nurture and challenge have enhanced social development, emotional wellbeing and a sense of belonging: 100% of children present engaged for some of the session and 83% engaged for the entire 45 minutes.
The Young Adults’ Black, White & Gold party was arranged as an opportunity for members in this age group to come together to celebrate their achievements, but also as a chance to encourage those who haven’t attended in recent times to reengage with the community. Corporate volunteers from WME | IMG dressed the top floor of the building in the theme colours. Members enjoyed a nutritious dinner before the entertainment began, all of which they provided themselves, including DJ sets and some very personal spoken word performances. At the end of the evening, members tidied away cups and plates, carried tables back to where they belonged and left the top floor in perfect order – because that’s how you treat your family home!
You Are Not Alone
This quarter saw a good referral rate for the new suicide prevention programme at Body & Soul: we had a drop-in afternoon tea for possible referrers, which helped to boost awareness of the programme and led to the first of 11 referrals between April and June. Several referrals from local schools and colleges came through near the end of the quarter, coinciding with exam season, which is consistent with a recent study pointing to a peak in suicides at this time. Several referrers have provided positive feedback on our ability to register members and have them accessing talking therapies within a week or two, in contrast with the long waiting times often associated with statutory services.
Body & Soul attended the British HIV Association conference in Liverpool in April, where we presented the findings from our survey of members about the difficulties experienced by HIV positive mothers in accessing formula milk for their babies. We were awarded the Mediscript Award for best oral presentation at the conference. Our research also fed into a BuzzFeed report on the issue of formula milk provision for positive mothers, which ultimately led to a food bank pledging a regular donation of formula milk to Body & Soul – an excellent outcome for members.