Over £1,000 has been raised to provide emergency nonclinical support for members of the Bloomsbury Patient Network at a Robert Grace Trust fundraising evening.

For the last five years donations from the charity have provided support for patients of the Bloomsbury Clinic – one of the largest HIV clinics in Europe.

The £1,100 raised will support patients in need at times of crisis and to help them engage in their care. Some items that have been purchased in the past include groceries, powdered milk for babies, school uniforms, beds, mattresses, fridges, cookers and hostel accommodation. The fund also subsidises travel and child care so that patients can attend the Bloomsbury Network’s events.

Christopher Sandford, Patient Representative at the Bloomsbury Clinic, said,

“The emergency fund is designed to help people when they have no-one else to turn to in times of crisis. If someone cannot afford to eat, or has nowhere to live, or can’t send their children to school, can’t afford the fares to attend the clinic, then you can’t expect people to take their medication effectively and stay healthy.

“We are grateful to the Robert Grace Trust for their continued support of our work. So many people’s lives have been filled with hope thanks to the fund.”

Attendees enjoyed wine and nibbles as the speakers – Patricia Pearson, Chair of the Robert Grace Trust; Dr Laura Waters, Consultant Physician at the Bloomsbury Clinic; and Christopher Sandford – discussed recent developments in HIV treatment and the difference the emergency fund has made.

Sean, a patient who volunteered at the fundraiser, said:

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“I just wanted to say how moved and proud I was listening to the presentations. When I think back to that first year of diagnosis there was so much to adjust to and joining the Bloomsbury Network has meant everything to me in terms of keeping me healthy, stable and supported. That is thanks to the incredible work that the Patient Representative Team does, building a supportive welcoming community. It is truly one of my favourite places to be. I was so moved listening to the stories from the emergency fund and so inspired by the idea of how the patient representatives are empowering so many people and transforming lives, including mine.”

The Bloomsbury Patient Network, run by three patient representatives, offers peer support for people to live positively with their HIV diagnosis. They offer a range of social, educational and motivational events thought the year.

Robert Grace was a South-African architect and a patient of the Bloomsbury Clinic. The Trust was founded in his memory after he passed away in 1987 to provide emergency support for patients and carers.