“I have been HIV-positive for about 3 years. I recently lost my job and all my financial security. I was introduced to The Food Chain by Positive East, who phoned me up and referred me to the service.
“Before I joined The Food Chain I wasn’t eating properly – I had been working all over the UK and had mostly been eating junk food. When lost my job I also got badly into debt, as I had so many outgoings but no money coming in.
“I did 4 sessions of the Eating Positively course on Mondays and the 12 weeks of Eating Together on a Wednesday. It really made me realise that I wasn’t eating the right foods and helped me to learn again how to eat a balanced diet – meat, salads, fish and potatoes, for example. Learning how to eat on a budget was also really useful for someone in my situation.
“The Food Chain has really transformed the way that I think about food, particularly the aspects of nutrition, cooking on a budget and eating healthily. It’s been such a positive experience that I am now volunteering for the classes, helping to teach other people living with HIV how to cook nutritious meals.
“The social aspects of The Food Chain classes also help a lot – we’ve all got one thing in common and it is very nice to listen to other people’s experiences, to hear what they’ve got to say and to learn from them.
“My long-term goal is to use my experiences to help other people through a mentoring programme that I am starting in the late spring. The whole experience has put me in touch with other organisations and has opened up lots of routes to other connections for me. The Food Chain experience has really meant a lot to me.”