What an exciting year 2014 is shaping up to be in the world of Peer Support! I am adjusting my working hours to enable me to work the first Saturday of the month in alignment with the QPP BBQ. This has now occurred twice and it is already proving to be very successful. For people living with and affected by HIV that are unable to access our service due to other commitments such as work, this provides the opportunity for them to link in with QPPs services and seek support that they otherwise may have experienced difficulty in coordinating during Monday-Friday hours.
The Support groups are being reviewed and I’m excited to report we have a range of new groups for 2014. The HIV positive transgender support group [+rans) commenced in January and the gay men’s Serodiscordant (partners with different HIV status), support group kicks off in April.
I’m also very keen to see the addition of more peer support groups throughout the state. If you have an idea for a group, I welcome you to contact me to discuss your ideas. Whilst we won’t be able to accept all requests, it is important to have the conversation – compromise can always be reached. We encourage community engagement and we want to assist in establishment of groups across the state for all people living with and affected by HIV. Building self-sustaining networks is fundamental in the redevelopment of Peer Support Programs – Groups run by community – for community.
One example of establishing stronger connections with regional stakeholders is that a recently diagnosed workshop is being arranged for Rockhampton and is expected to be delivered in May 2014. If you have been recently diagnosed I encourage you to contact me to register interest in the workshop for your region – I am only too happy to travel around the state as required to provide this very important workshop.
Another exciting addition to the Peer Support program is I am now available by Skype – contact me to make an appointment so I can ensure that we will not be disrupted during our conversation! The value of having face-to-face contact with someone rather than just a phone conversation can not only help to strengthen our relationship, but provides regional clients a more similar experience to those living in the South East that can access our wonderful State Resource Centre.
QPP is working hard to ensure that regional clients have access to our services, and we welcome any feedback or suggestions you might have – just head to the contact us page of our website if you have any feedback or suggestions.
Taking About HIV Launch
I would also like to take this opportunity to mention the success of the Talking About HIV campaign, which was officially launched by Shelly Argent at the State Resource Centre on Thursday 28th November 2013.
With over 50 people in attendance, there was barely a dry eye in the house after the 5 short films had been screened. Shelly summed up this project beautifully in her speech stating “For those diagnosed with HIV it’s important to know it isn’t the end of the world. You can still have a meaningful relationship and family. We need to break down the fear and ignorance, which is what this project will help do.”
I want to again thank the amazing stars of this resource – I told you all through the planning and development stages of the resource that this would change lives. And the feedback received thus far is an accurate representation of this. We have received positive feedback and accolades from as far away as Canada, and certainly from sector partners across Australia. If you haven’t already done so, I strongly encourage you to check out the films at www.qpp.org.au/talking
A major focus this year, will be the promotion of this campaign. The campaign has just finished being promoted in cinemas across the state at screenings of Dallas Buyers Club. This demonstrates QPP’s commitment to delivering our campaigns to whole of population.
Whilst there will always be challenges having a presence in some of the more remote regions of our vast State, I want to make clear that we are constantly looking at new and exciting ways to have our messages heard throughout the state. Though there are limitations to the technological capacity to deliver programs to everyone in the State – we are very open to suggestions from the community.
If you want to engage with Peer Support by hand written letters I am only too happy to do so. If you want to engage via phone, Skype, email or in person that is great. I am here to support this community, and will do so in ways best suited to the needs of the individual client.