Edinburgh HIV charity sees 25% increase in demand for its services


A SURGE in demand for help from sufferers of HIV and Hepatitis C in Edinburgh has left a city charity urgently seeking extra volunteers.

Positive Help, an independent charity formed 25 years ago, receives financial support from the Church of Scotland’s HIV Programme Fund as well as individual churches.

It supports more than 550 people throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians. Of the 190 sufferers who receive regular help, 35 are children.


(from left) Donna Cooper, former teacher and board member; Jan Woolley, volunteer; Richard Hungerford, board member formerly on children’s panel ; Marjorie Clark, HIV Coordinator for Church of Scotland; Rt Rev Angus Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly; Matthew Gilbert-Straw.


Services include befriending, home support and transportation along with a Study Buddy homework club that is helping children catch up in school.

Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, visited the charity’s office to learn it’s  coping with the increase in demand.

Dr Morrison said: “It’s been a tremendous pleasure and privilege to be visiting Positive Help and to hear about the marvellous work that they are doing in making a real difference in the lives of so many people in our community.

“I’ve been greatly inspired by what I have heard and would want to encourage the whole church indeed to get behind this work and to support it in every way we can.”

Ray de Souza, Chair of Positive Help’s Board, said: “Demand for our services has risen almost 25% in the last year in the face of pressure on statutory sector services, an increasing number of people living longer with HIV illness, and changes to the welfare benefits system.

“We work with some of the most seriously ill people living with HIV as well as with families affected by the disease.”

Matthew Gilbert-Straw, manger of Positive Help, said: “Our services absolutely would not be able to function without the help of our fantastic volunteer team and we hope that many people will be inspired to come and help us support clients living with HIV and Hepatitis C to live with dignity and in hope of a better future.”

He added: “Please do get in touch. We welcome new volunteers.”