Our new strategy: Meeting complex needs
This month we are launching our strategy for the 2019-2022 and now more than ever the work we do has a day to day urgency for the people living with HIV in London who we support.
Our service users are not in a position to live long, healthy lives with HIV. They are experiencing poor physical or mental health, have low or no income and may be in insecure housing or homeless. Some are seeking refugee status in the UK, and some have been through that process without success and have simply become invisible. We have service users who are living in tents or sleeping on night buses.
Everyone is struggling to achieve a quality of life that most of us have as a given.
We have food in our cupboards to feed ourselves and our families, we have cookers and fridges and microwave ovens in our kitchens, we can afford to routinely travel on tubes and buses, we are able to enjoy social activities, buy new clothes and go on holidays. We are generally speaking, in good health most of the time. None of these things are in easy reach for the people we support.
Our experience of delivering our home-delivered and face-to-face services over the past 6 years has shown us just how marginalised and isolated people can become, even in these times when living well with HIV in London could and should be possible for all. For some it is literally the first time they have told others about their HIV status, even if they have been diagnosed for years. For others The Food Chain is the only place they will enjoy a home cooked meal made from scratch.
The Eating Together meal service we have created epitomises what The Food Chain is all about. Regardless of the individual circumstances of the people in the room the lunches are a great place to be on a Wednesday and Saturday. The atmosphere is warm and inclusive. The food is delicious. People have a good good time, whether a service user, volutneer, staff member or visitor. For those few hours each week ordinary life takes place with people enjoying a meal together. It is about so much more than the nutritious food.
In forming our strategy for the coming few years it has become clear to everyone at The Food Chain that we need to sustain and build up all the services we currently offer and also find new ways of addressing the hardship and day to day difficulties faced by so many of our service users.
We know we cannot do this alone. We will need all the the support and involvment we can muster from of our fantastic volunteers, fundraisers, donors and partners in the sector to continue meeting the urgent needs of people who are not living well with HIV in London. With 30 years of experience behind us we know we are uniquely placed to do this and with hard work, goodwill and a fair wind in our sails, there is nothing to stop us.