News CHIVA - Vote 2016 WHY VOTE FOR US? CHIVA supports children growing up with HIV across the UK. You won’t see any faces of the children and young people in our photos as we can’t identify them. HIV remains highly stigmatised and the HIV status of our participants is often kept secret from friends, and within families. These experiences lead to complex needs on top of the challenges of managing a difficult and sometimes life threatening health condition. Children can require a lot of support to enable them to live well with HIV, and remain engaged with their clinical care. Otherwise, they risk very poor health outcomes and serious illness. It can be challenging for young people to access support when HIV is something they are told not to speak about. We work closely with clinics to identify those in most need, and spend time building up a trusting relationship with families. CHIVA is the only organisation working across the entire UK. We are a very small organisation with national reach. We have just 3 year-round part time staff, and keep our overheads extremely low. We do not receive any government funds to support our work, and rely solely on charity grants. Any funds awarded go directly on supporting young people. In August we ran our 7th annual national support camp ‘Freedom to Be’. This intervention has been independently evaluated as a ‘life changing experience’ (Sigma Research, 2010) and children and young people who attend the camp also tell us: "It was the best time of my life, I felt free" - Young person camp 2013 At camp, participants benefit from both professional and peer support. They learn to accept and understand their HIV and the value of taking medication. They learn to think about their future, and that it needn’t be limited by their HIV, and significantly for many, that they are not the only ones in their situation. We always ensure sole occupancy of the camp venue so participants can be completely open about living with HIV. For many this will be the first time they have ever experienced this openness. Attending camp is often the first opportunity for a young person to engage with our work, but they can then access other opportunities such as our Youth Committee – which operates as a voice for children living with HIV. To enable camp to happen with such a small staff team, we recruit and train up to 35 volunteers. Part of this recruitment is a peer mentor programme for young adults who have also grown up with HIV who we train to attend camp and support participants. CHIVA receive no ongoing funding to run our camp and we fundraise yearly for the next one. We take up to 100 participants, and we cover all costs including travel of participants, volunteers and escorts (to accompany younger children) from across the UK. HOW WILL WE SPEND A DONATION FROM RYH? £10,000 would cover all participant and volunteer travel costs for our 2017 camp. This is a critical cost of running camp to ensure full access wherever they live in the UK and reaching those most isolated. £20,000 would cover all participant and volunteer travel costs for our 2017 national support camp. Plus, enable us to continue providing professional support to children and families in most critical need throughout the year. This support reaches out to children who have more acute difficulties including family breakdown, suicide attempts and sexual exploitation. £30,000 would pay to hire a residential venue, for our sole use, to hold our camp in 2017 for 6 days for up to 100 children. This cost is our biggest camp expense and would ensure we are able to run our 2017 camp. Having our venue secured will enable us to run our successful camp programme that combines HIV themed workshops, creative arts, sports, and emotional support.