Posts Tagged ‘Positive East’

Positive East

Ahead of our World AIDs Day fundraiser on the 1st of December we had a little chat with Alex, the fundriasing officer for Positive East. Alex has been with the charity for 2 and a half years, and works to engage with the local community and encourage them to support the work of Positive East!

What is Positive East’s mission?

All of the charity’s work and services are designed around our mission to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities affected by HIV in East London.

 Can you tell us a little of the organisation’s history? How did it come into being?

Positive East came about at the height of the AIDS pandemic and was born out of an urgent need to address the significant issues that HIV presented in East London in the 80s.  Two organisations were established – London East AIDS Network and the Globe Centre – which then merged in 1991 to better meet the needs of people living with HIV and became Positive East.

What kind of services do you provide?

We offer a wide range of services.  We have an advice line, counselling and peer support services, tailored support groups including our Re:Assure Women’s Group which supports HIV positive women with past experiences of trauma. And of course, we deliver free HIV tests in the local community.  We are a community-led organisation and I think one of the best things about our services is that so many of our programmes and groups are co-delivered by volunteers, many of whom are living with HIV themselves which means they are much better at understanding the issues and barriers that so many people living with HIV still face.

Why is it important that services like yours exist?

It’s so important – even more important than ever really – as less and less funding is being given to the HIV sector.  This is a very significant time in the world of HIV.  There are some great things to celebrate – a dramatic fall in new HIV diagnoses, particularly amongst gay men in London and London has also exceeded the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target (90% of people living with HIV are diagnosed, 90% of people diagnosed are on treatment, and 90% of those on treatment are adhering to their medication).  We can also now say categorically that someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load cannot pass on the virus (Undetectable = Untransmittable) and PrEP works as an effective method of preventing onward transmission!

However, although these are fabulous developments, the challenge remains that not everyone and not all communities are benefiting.  HIV stigma is still a reality and there are far too many people undiagnosed or diagnosed late.  There are 50,000 Londoners living with HIV which of course means that HIV support services are still needed.

How has the work that Positive East does changed over the last decade?

We have always worked and will continue to work towards improving the lives of people living with HIV.  We know that there have been incredible developments in HIV medication but unfortunately, society – and its approach to HIV – needs to catch up.  Stigma, isolation and ill mental health are still very real challenges that require bespoke support and there are now fewer organisations that offer similar services.  Without our work, thousands of people living with HIV would not receive support and advice to manage an HIV diagnosis.

 How has austerity affected your service users and your work as an organisation (if at all)?

It has impacted us severely.  Sexual health services, Positive East included, are facing significant funding cuts year on year.  It looks like this is going to continue into the future as well which means we are becoming increasingly reliant on the support of our local community.

 What advice would you give to someone who has been newly diagnosed with HIV?

First of all, you’re not alone.  Positive East is here to support you.  As I mentioned, HIV medication is very advanced which means that someone diagnosed now, who adheres to their medication, can continue living their life as normal with very few changes.  And all of our programmes and services are designed to make the journey towards managing an HIV diagnosis as smooth and stress-free as possible.

 What are the best ways for people to get involved in and support Positive East’s work?

I mentioned that we are facing some fairly significant funding cuts, so we urgently need both people and organisations to support us so that we can continue our work.  You can make donations to the charity through our website – www.positiveeast.org.uk – or you can fundraise for the charity by setting up an online fundraising page.  We cannot thank Dalston Superstore enough for the fantastic support they have shown for Positive East as well – you are so amazing!  We are always looking for volunteers to help us deliver our work, whether that’s staffing our reception desk for a couple of hours or delivering outreach in the local community to raise awareness of HIV.  There are lots of different roles!  You can find out more by emailing our Volunteer Manager at volunteering@positiveeast.org.uk

Most importantly are you looking forward to letting your hair down at the party after the World AIDS Day Red Run?!

YES!  Absolutely!  It’s been really fantastic organising what has now become the UK’s largest World AIDS Day community event and I can’t wait to continue the celebrations with Superstore on the night!

Find the event for our World AIDs Day fundraiser here. All profits from the door price will go directly to Positive East.

Jon Pleased Wimmin

For World Aids Day this year, Jon Pleased Wimmin joins us for a special Christmas edition of his party #Pleased! Joining him is Tasty Tim, Paul Woods, Grizzle aka John Sizzle and A Man To Pet and Ma Butcher for a drag extravaganza over both floors of Superstore, with a portion of the door going to support local charity Positive East. Ahead of the party we caught up with Jon Pleased Wimmin to find out more about the party and her musical legacy…

Who is Jon Pleased Wimmin ?

I’m a spooky old DJ whose been dressing up and spinning tunes since 1991, from London to Tokyo and beyond.

What are your most treasured memories from Kinky Gerlinky and Glam?

Well, Gerlinde & Michael who ran Kinky, certainly knew how to throw a party! The mix of people, the relaxed set list and the feeling that everything could topple over at any minute is what made their parties so extraordinary. It’s at Kinky that Jenny & Danny Rampling first saw my two co-horts (Darren & Peter) and I performing as The Pleased Wimmin and invited us to come and work as ‘dancers’ for them at Glam at The Milk Bar. What made that so special and life-changing was that we were in amongst a totally mixed crowd (whereas before, most clubs, including Kinky where we would go were predominantly gay) I was never into the original ‘rave’ scene as I love dressing up too much and don’t find the thought of standing around in a field that appealing. So this was like an epiphany for me, to be able to express myself and not feel like I had to hide within a ‘gay’ ghetto was very liberating. Needless to say I have never really wanted to return to the narrow confines of ‘gay’ clubbing since.

Why did you decide to cover The Flirts for your first single?

Well, Passion is probably still in my top 10 favourite tracks ever, it’s just so bloody sleazy and amyl-tastic. We got hooked up with Norman Cook, through our good friend and neighbour Lindy Layton and he wanted to make a track with me as my DJing career was taking off and he was just getting into making house music on his Southern Fried label. It turns out that Norman was a massive fan of Passion too, so it was decided that was a good option. 

What are your favourite pop music curveballs to sneak into a set?

Memorabilia (The Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing Version) by Soft Cell and the Steve Thompson Remix of The Sun Always Shines on TV by A-Ha are up there. I also have quite a lot of edits that I make, things like Just Can’t get Enough by Depeche Mode and Love is a Stranger by Eurythmics. The kind of electronic pop that was so ahead of its time it still sounds fresh and current, really.

What’s your favourite track from the compilation album you put together Female Trouble: Divine – The Remixes?

Oh god…………… probably Shoot Your Shot, though they sound a little dated now.

What was the first house record that turned your head?

Well, being a massive pop head and coming from more of a new wave/goth background, it was things like KLF, Baby Ford, S’Express and The Beloved that really got excited. The early stuff on Creation records with Weatherall and Fluke etc were and still are a massive inspiration. I was never into the souley stuff with big divas and all that. Tracks like Finally by Cece Peniston and Free by Ultra Nate bring me out in hives.

Why the reincarnation of #Pleased and why now?

I took quite a few years off from DJing, went to university to study Popular Music and kind of naturally came back to it a few years ago. Things definitely go in cycles and while my sets are mainly made up of new music, there seems to be a hunger and reappraisal for the ‘anything could happen’ vibe of early to mid ’90s clubs. It’s all been very organic and I think it’s more to do with an attitude, not being afraid to party things up a bit, but keeping the quality up, which seems to be totally relevant again. 

As I’ve said before, I take my music very seriously, but it doesn’t mean all my music has to be very serious.

Who’s your idol?

Blimey, there a lots of people who I admire and find inspiring…

Grayson Perry, Val Denham, Gavin Friday, Marc Almond, Patrick Cowley, Kate Bush, Joan Collins, Stuart Price, Richard X and Andrew Weatherall for starters.

What does the future hold for JPW?

I’m releasing new music next year, which is really exciting and I shall be playing all over the joint. More #Pleased parties and more shenanigans with my Dare! and Church of High Kicks parties too.

What can people expect from the night?

People can expect to have a scream, with a bouncy soundtrack and an open-minded atmosphere. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure people have a fun night, meet lovely people and let their hair down to quality music.

I’m really looking forward to playing with Tasty Tim and Paul Woods again too, and seeing the inimitable Ma Butcher!

Tell us a secret………

Ma Butcher made her fortune selling her firstborn to Hollywood to star in Babe.

Three Pleased classics?

Oooh.

1. Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely on You (MK remix)

2. Sain II – It’s Alright

3. Jon Pleased Wimmin – Don’t be Scared (Of Yourself)

A current favourite track?

Romanthony – Trust (Freeform Five Rmx)

Join Jon Pleased Wimmin for #Pleased at Dalston Superstore on Friday 5th December from 9pm – 3am.

World Aids Day

This weekend sees World Aids Day roll around once more and a wonderful reason to empty your wallet for local charity Positive East. With events across east London at venues such as The George & Dragon, East Bloc, The Joiners and right here at Dalston Superstore, there’s plenty of opportunities to be generous.

Kris Di Angelis takes over both floors of Superstore on Saturday 1st December for Super Tramp, an extra-special World Aids Day edition of his party, featuring himself and Jaime Ritchie back to back in the basement for a five hour set whilst upstairs the outrageously sexy Munroe Bergdorf and JonBenet Blonde will be running wild. 

Meanwhile, Dirtbox with Gibson, Princess Michael Of Cunt and The Duchess of Pork will be taking place over at East Bloc, a special X-Factor Live Show with Princess Julia at The George & Dragon and Pantastic with Paul Heron at The Joiners where Positive East can still benefit from your hard-earned cash.

If Friday nights are more your thing then former Tramp guest Jodie Harsh will be at East Bloc for Larry T’s Super Electric Party Machine.

If you’re in any doubt about where you should be this weekend, we’ll leave you with this snap of Munroe looking ridiculously sexy at the last Tramp…

Munroe Bergdorf at Tramp

Join Munroe Bergdorf, Kris Di Angelis, Jaime Ritchie, JonBenet Blonde and more at Super Tramp here at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 1st December from 9pm – 4am.

Positive East

We’ve been working closely with local HIV charity Positive East for some time now – we’ve run events on two consecutive World Aids Days as well as a successful collaboration with our flagship night Body Talk. We thought it was about time we caught up with our friends at the organisation for a chat about their work in the area…

Can you introduce Positive East to people who might not be familiar with it?

In a nutshell, Positive East is your community HIV charity. We work closely with people living with and affected by HIV in East London, to give them the best possible opportunity to live full and independent lives. We support people affected by HIV, as well as tackling  the issue of late diagnosis and stigma and discrimination. There’s over 8,000 people in London who are HIV positive and don’t know about it.

If you could impart one message to the east London LGBT community what would it be?

Get tested. Our HIV testing campaign is titled It’s Better To Know for a reason. By knowing your HIV status, you can deal with it effectively. We know it can seem quite daunting, but our aim is to make HIV testing as regular activity as going to the dentist. If I can impart one more message, it would be to get involved with events like the ones we hold at Superstore. Funds raised from these events are essential to support our HIV testing programme, as well as our vital gay men’s outreach services.

What does the charity do on a more day-to-day basis?

Support groups and advice work make up two of the biggest sections of our service. The support groups help people re-connect with a community they may have otherwise become isolated from, and our advice workers make sure people living with HIV can sustain their independence at really difficult times in their lives.

We also spend our time organising exciting awareness and fundraising events to support the vast ongoing work of Positive East. 

Why do you think East London, as opposed to any other area in the capital, benefits so much from a charity like Positive East?

There’s a large “at risk” population of people living with HIV in East London, as well as a higher than average rate of late diagnosis. And again a higher risk of those people affected by HIV living in poverty or experiencing homelessness. Therefore, we make our services as accessible as possible to even the most isolated communities in East London. The needs of people living with HIV are constantly evolving; we take these on board, and provide a service which benefits those most in need.

What kind of fund-raising activities do you undertake and why is it so important to the continuation of the charity?

One of our biggest fundraising successes over the last couple of years has been our ever-growing relationship with Dalston Superstore, and other local venues who are kind enough to give us their door money once or twice a year, and we’re on hand to give out condoms and spread the message… Just to give you an idea – each HIV test costs just £10; the support of local East End venues helped us raise £5,000 in 2011. Following cuts of up to 30% to some of our services, these activities have never been more important in helping us continue to support people affected by HIV in East London.

For more information on Positive East find them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, or e-mail them.