SUPPORT SERVICE FUNDING UPDATE

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As you know, in January we received the unwelcome news that Bristol City Council proposed to stop funding our Support Service. We thought it high time to give you an update as to what’s going on and what you can still do to help.

From January, Brigstowe ran a public campaign raising awareness of the importance of HIV specific services. We made several radio and TV interviews, spoke with local MPs and councillors and campaigned on social media all in an effort to highlight what these cuts would mean for HIV positive people. Thank you to everyone involved in the campaign and all that wrote to their MP’s and councillors.

Although our campaign was well received, the cuts to “Supporting People” services (our Support Service is in this group) were voted through at the Bristol City Council meeting on 21st February, representing a 50% cuts to this group of services. However, the cut to each individual service has not yet been decided.

The next part of this process is that the council have to conduct a three month consultation on the impact of these cuts on HIV positive people and other affected groups. From this consultation, they will make a decision about where the cuts will be made.

There has been a delay in starting the consultation due to the Metro Mayor elections and now the General Election taking place on the 8th June. Major decisions and consultations cannot take place during this pre-election period in case it affects the outcome of the elections.

Bristol City Council have to give us 3 months’ notice of any changes. Therefore we do not expect to see any change to the Support Service until at least December of this year and we are not sure what change we will see after this date.

We will let you know as soon as we have details regarding the consultation process. It is vital that the voices of people living with HIV are heard at this point. Thank you for your continued support.

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