Body Positive to be gifted $5000 if Wellington re-opens
Bruce Kilmister, Body Positive Interim Chair said on 24 March that “there is a strong feeling from the Wellington members that they would like to see the office re-opened. Everyone appreciates the extra cost and expense but we feel that with the use of volunteers there could be some mechanism by which we could re-open the office.”
“The big issue of course is money” says Kilmister, “but we’ve worked magic before when operating on a shoestring.” One member has offered $5000 if the office is reopened within three months.
“The re-opening of the Wellington office is a high possibility” says Kilmister, “certainly the interim board made a strong recommendation to the new board, which meets on 9 April, that they should consider the Wellington members needs and how they can best be served.”
Kilmister defends the importance of both the Auckland and Wellington Body Positive offices and says that their community and support based ideals deserve more funding. He also says that HIV infection levels have increased considerably over the last four years, and Body Positive is an important organisation in supporting these people, and in providing quick early HIV testing.
“The work we do is significant with people who are living with HIV. We know those numbers are going up. The latest statistics show yet another increase – that’s the fourth year in a row the rates have gone up.”
Kilmister tells express that there is a massive discrepancy in public funding between the NZAF and Body Positive. Although the government, through the Ministry of Health, has recently increased it’s annual funding to BP from $100,000 pa to $150,000, the NZAF receive around $4.5m per annum.
“We do feel (however) that we are building a stronger association with the NZAF which includes some funding from them for some of the work we do. Currently, they fund one of our staff members to work one day a week at Body Positive” Bruce says.
“However, Body Positive members want to remain autonomous from NZAF” says Bruce.
To date the majority of Body Positive funding has come from lottery grants and other community initiatives but these are under pressure – so the need for further Government funding is becoming increasingly important.
Images | Jeremy Green