Who we are, what we do & FAQ

Who we are

Peer Action is made up of adult members who are HIV+ or are affected by HIV. We were originally formed by gay HIV+ men, but we are now very diverse and open to all irrespective of gender, transgender, sexual orientation, race, religion or nationality.

How are you different from the other organisations?

We are a PEER-LED VOLUNTARY organisation – we share our l experience of being HIV and respond to needs as we see them (or as we are told they are…), using our experience to help each other.

We are not a public body providing health services – we are not a national political lobbying group; we simply seek to find ways to deal with the challenges which occur when living HIV+

Why is being a Peer important?

As people living HIV+, it is rarely that being +ve is just a given – we can meet similar people and make friends; find a little support; share a drink and mutual understanding; involve ourselves in some activities (social; sport or therapy). Sometimes by booking as a group we can control the cost or bid for funds to subsidise things like training; therapy; trips; travel…. we are just trying to work together to make life a bit easier and more fun.. in these hard times, if we don’t look out for each other – who will?

Are there Women Peers?

Yes – we have women peers attending events and women on the trustees. we are actively looking to expand our mix and have had more and growing participation by women peers.

Our activities are driven by demand from Peers and availability of Peers to help organise; we are very open to more women members and working with partner organisations. However, just wishing it “so” does not make it  happen and we welcome advice on where to direct our limited outreach resources and how to encourage more women to become involved?

Are you a charity?

Yes – Peer Action is Charity Commission- registered charity:1155754.
Found Out More at Charity Commission or Charity Commission -Charity Finder page

We plan to add more detail to website here: Governance

How secure are my details?

Very. Members have the option of receiving our email circulars – but this is an option (most events are also announced here on the website). All newsletter and emails sent securely to the membership (either bcc or via MailChimp service) so no contact details are shared with other members of the group (you are obviously free to share contacts 1:1 – that is your choice). No membership list is ever produced and no membership details are shared with other organisations. All contacts are confidential. Since we are a volunteer organisation we do rely on web & email services – we do not staff a full time office.

What about photographs - I see photos of ‘peers’ on the site?

Any photographs of any event which contain Peers are cleared with them before any use is made. We like to have some shots of our activities and use them in promotion – but you will notice few include recognisable pictures. Mainly because its difficult to get everyone to sign-off and if we do not have agreement, we will not use shots of Peers (note: there are only so many photos of visits; exhibits; classes; socials;gardens or ‘the bus we used’ that we can stand)

Our aims & objectives

  • To encourage participants living with HIV to value their health and well being while minimising the impact of isolation and anxieties, though community focused peer socialising, education and support
  • To create a safe, confidential space for a community led peer support group to meet in a relaxed, informal and social setting
  • To enhance the psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual health and well being of people living with HIV & AIDS in Brighton and Hove and surrounding areas
  • To reduce anxiety and stress, by building resilience and skills for each participant to create peer support, whilst improving their relationship with themselves and others
  • To support the formation of groups for various activities – social, physical, companionship, support, training, advice.

Peer Action has facilitated steering groups and identified that within the HIV community in Brighton and Hove, people are feeling isolated, low in self confidence with lack of peer support: Peer Action has been established to encourage and empower individuals living with HIV to value their health and well-being while minimising the impact of loneliness and anxieties.

Peer Action will enable individuals to be informed and engaged in their overall wellbeing by bringing people together that can share interests, hobbies and experiences and in so doing promote a healthy lifestyle through a variety of holistic practices in a friendly social setting. We know that people with HIV must deal not only with their condition, but also with the impact it has on their lives and emotions. Involving people in these ways are themselves great acts of empowerment; something which a lot of people within the gay and HIV communities tell us they are keen to undertake.

Peer Action aims are to be a long term sustainable community group which will enhance the psychological, physical and spiritual health and well being through drop in and peer lead group work sessions, social groups and meetings .

If I want to get involved - does that mean immediately?

No -depends on how fast you want to move – we can do things quickly, but generally setting up activities or getting involved can evolve over time. Drop us a line (hit the contact tab) – provide an email address and we can get in touch. If you have a particular activity you would like get involved with – or better still you would like to lead on or help organise, let us know. First off we will try and see if there is an event soon (e.g. film night or walk or social) where we can get you along; failing that we may be able to arrange a discussion or meeting depending on your needs & areas of interest. Nothing is bound in a contract – there is no sign-up fee or 12months minimum involvement – get involved at a speed that suits you.

If I give you details will I be swamped?

No. We do not share you details with others, we don’t even ask for your address as we do not generate any funds from adverts. You can receive the email news letter (about 1+ a month) or keep track on the website or through Facebook. The circulation list for the newsletter is not shared and is managed securely via the MailChimp service (each is sent ‘Blind Copied’ to you – no other recipents see your details). You can sign-off from the email circular when you want.

Do you need my help?

We always need new ideas and volunteers. People tend to have opportunities or interests which involve them for a while (e.g. walking is best in the summer) – but life; love; jobs; health …many things pull us away over time – that is normal.

As a voluntary organisation we can always do with new members. We are still evolving what we want to be as we grow as an organisation. We are quite willing to take help in working that out…OR: just come along to some events and do what you can, when you can.

What about New ideas?

The world keeps changing. There is always more we would like to do and we are always open to new suggestions. As a voluntary group we are always looking for support. The easiest way to get something done, is come and talk to us and become involved in its delivery – we will take a good idea and see if we can adopt it, develop it, link it with our activities.

How long might it take? it just depends – some sessions have run almost immediately, others have to await funding; people; space; advertising and circulation to members.

Are you on Facebook?

YES we are on Facebook – just search for ‘peeraction’ – but full access is by invitation. The site is a ‘private’ closed group and secure. All main public Peer Action event details and booking are available on www.peeraction.net – Facebook is great for sharing updates and other content.  If you wish to be invited onto our facebook area – Hit CONTACT and enquire.

Facebook is great bubbly changing immediate and ‘now’ – the website is more “event” time – booking and solid detail – you do not need to register to use the website.

We realise many live on facebook and many people like to be our friends on facebook. We tested our facebook space has become quite popular with a subset of Peers – mainly it seems it is for people who have taken some time to get to know Peer Action (if you have time – get in touch).

Facebook and Confidentiality –  Facebook regularly changes its ‘security’ settings we are conscious of Facebooks information sharing about groups and friends  to people you are friends with (it is a social network).  sTo keep this confidential  we have created a trusted invite closed group and that is working for people who like Facebook. we do not list events on Facebook  as we keep events listings and booking here on the website as well. Use which-ever fits your needs (or both)

Associates, Peers & partners

There are many great organisations dealing with different elements of living with HIV. Each has its own focus and we plan to work together wherever there is overlap. Peer Action works closely and collaboratively with other HIV organisations across Brighton and Hove.

Please get in touch if we should promote your service or activities to Peer Action members (just use the contact menu)

Groups we would like to mention include, but are not limited to:

General information

Feedback & Web Issues

It is important for us to get feedback – to improve what we do.

For comments on Peer Action – events, groups, your experience please go to the use our contact link –  where you can leave a note

Charity

Peer Action is Charity Commission- registered charity:1155754

Found Out More at Charity Commission or Charity Commission -Charity Finder page

We plan ongoing to add documentation, announcements and updates to the website. If you need more information earlier – hit contact and let us know your requirements.

Sponsors & Funders

As well as fund raising events and your donations, our activities have been supported with funding from a range of private sponsors and bids to key Organisations. We would like to thank…


rainbowfund1
The Rainbow Fund are a grant-giving fund for LGBT/HIV community groups in Brighton & Hove – you can find out about their great range of work here rainbow-fund.org. They have been a great source of advice and support for Peer Action.


lottery-funded
We has Lottery Funding, awarded for a bid to support our community. These essential funds have been awarded under the ‘Awards for All’ for community organisations. For additional detail please see: Awards For All award_for_all1


ST_Georges7
St George’s – Kemp Town has supported us with one of its Community Funds.


peoplecan
People Can People Can -Logo – People Can funding (previously known as Scarman) has supported us to get started ( Companies House Registration Number is: 07485550- Charity Registration Number is: 1139803)

Collaborations & Partners

There are many great organisations dealing with different elements of living with HIV. Each has its own focus and we plan to work together wherever there is overlap. Peer Action works closely and collaboratively with other HIV organisations across Brighton and Hove.

We work collaboratively with other groups and we are happy to loan others any equipment we have (PA systems, Mats etc) or offer support and advice where we can. Please get in touch if we  can assist or we can promote your service or activities to Peer Action members (go to our contact link).

Groups we would like to mention include, but are not limited to:


lawson4
Lawson HIV-Care.


brightonNHS
Lawson Unit

“..Jewel in the crown of local HIV care – the Lawson keeps most of us going…(essential)..”


Sussex-Beacon-Peer-Action2 Sussex Beacon

“Specialist care and support for people living with HIV”


THT-PEER-ACTION3

“Terrence Higgins Trust : Tackling the spread of HIV in the UK”


lunch-positive5

“”A weekly lunch club for people with HIV”

Donations

All our work and activities require funding and access to resources. It is a cold dark time for all voluntary groups. We are happy to take donations – large or small – please see: Donate Menu for additional details.

QR-bar code / scan code

This is the QR-scan block which will bring a user to this website (more available for specific events or URLs on request).
qr-code

It is increasingly popular to include these smart-phone ‘2D bar codes’ on posters and handouts – making it easier for those interested to be redirect to the relevant website etc. This one – the default for peeraction website – is included here as a convienience for our partners e.g. for inclusion on joint posters and other announcements.

Media

All media contacts or requests from the media – should follow the standard contact link Media Contacts . We do not spend funds on advertising directly nor charity collections – all agency contacts will remain unanswered.

Should you wish to contact the trustees or chair directly please use the following links:-

Trustees – email us through this link HERE

Chair – email the chair directly through this link HERE

Future

Peer Action is growing – our activities are developed from suggestions given by members. We see a clear demand for services to make living with HIV better – our future plans are constantly under review, but get in touch or attend a meeting if you want to know more.

Q. Do we intend to be a national player?

A. We believe in Brighton there is sufficient concentration of HIV+ people and hence the demand and need to make Peer Action work… As the idea works others may wish to start their own local groups – we are happy to offer support if needed.

Legal

Peer Action is a Peer Network sharing and encouraging communication, support and collaboration between peers; Peer Action is a voluntary organisation, which operates on a best effort basis. Specific details of events may need to change at short notice e.g. due to health of peer volunteers.

We operate as a clearing house for information and opportunities presented to us, in good faith. Unless specifically declared otherwise, all attendees at any session or meeting are sharing their opinions and personal experience – they are not giving professional advice nor professional council. They are not recommending treatments, plans of treatment nor other advice which would suggest or require professional qualification. Any suggestions reached in any meeting are followed at your own risk. No indemnity or warranty is given or implied. For reference to our legal representation, legal status or any questions of liability perceived breach of any actual or implied contact please use our contact link.

Proposals

We are happy to receive approaches and proposals for new groups, services or activities from members or partner organisations. We do not currently contract with any third parties for the delivery of parts of our group activities, so unsolicited pitches may not get responses.

Membership and Volunteering

Volunteering

Peer Action relies upon volunteers – members who are willing to offer anything from an hour (e.g. to deliver some posters), up to chunks of time to lead a class or arrange a trip.
There is no minimum amount of time and you can start small and get involved as you feel inclined (see FAQ “Frequently Asked Questions” below)
If you have an interest (e.g. particular literature or horticulture) or want a particular social activity (e.g. comedy nights or quizes) we could do with some help
There are many ways to get involved and we try to be as flexible as possible. If you think you might want to do more than just attend – hit contact and lets talk
There are a range of operational ways you might really help: e.g. collect tickets at some event; prepare cakes; proof read some web-copy; organise a print run; drop of fliers; find out the prices of a bus or discounts on offer …. If you have some special skill (e.g. fluent in a language or ability to type web content) or would like to learn one – let us know.
Please get in touch via Contact To find out about a range of Volunteering options with Peer Action.

Membership
“Membership” generally requires a few emails – optionally we can arrange to meet you (see below). We will sign you up your monthly email newsletter. Many people start by attending one group or event that interests them. Once you join – we share NO details with any other organisation and will delete you from the list should you move away etc. We take confidentiality very seriously (see FAQ ‘How Secure are my Details’)
New Members: simplest thing, read the website; read the back issues of Newsletters and then get in touch Contact. Many members have never been involved with an HIV group – so we can chat with your first before you ever come to a meeting (perhaps a coffee; perhaps on the phone). We do have occasional ‘new members meetings’ and we can tell you about those if they are soon enough. There is no pressure and no rush, take contact at whatever speed you want. Step-1 : get in touch.

Joining is easy – hit Contact and ask; there is no joining fee. We will ask for a few details. We can sign you up & register for our monthly E-newsletter – which provides details of groups-activities and opportunities (most of this is also on the website).

We discount book and fund raise to ensure our events can be subsidised and kept as affordable as possible. Some events have limited space -even if free-so RSVP and book early. Where our events have charges they are subsidised and you can pay in advance on-line (currently we use PayPal) or at locations specified in the newsletter or email confirmations (e.g. see Therapy Days with on-line booking). Some events are ‘pay on the door’ but RSVP as we do run out of places.

Newsletter(s)We have the monthly e-newsletter and updates on this website; periodically we also produce a magazine. For back issues and more details on the information available-or even to get involved or offer content- see: Newsletters. To sign-up use our contact link – to request a change (e.g. change emails or details) send us a contact (we will need to get some response from the email address impacted to confirm).

Groups can define their own membership and focus (e.g. some meet weekly others monthly); some run 3-month courses and are closed to members except at fixed start points (i.e. to ensure continuity of membership); some are men only groups or age specific. We try to make groups as open and inclusive as possible – but sometimes the cycle rides are for those up for 40miles of hills; some specialist trips may run without a guide; … It is up to the groups to make criteria clear

Volunteering  – some people like to get involved by volunteering -note: no pressure and absolutely not a requirement – but we need all kinds of help- see Volunteering in the section above  Please get in touch via our contact link to find our about joining Peer Action.

Events

August 2019
September 2019
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