HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) has been awarded £86,000 by HBOS Foundation to help expand it’s Midlands Debt Advice service. Currently the service helps people living with HIV to manage their finances. The two year project will be launched in September 2007 and is on offer to people living in Wolverhampton and the surrounding area.

The HBOS Foundation helped THT to launch the service for clients in the Midlands in 2005. The additional funding will enable the charity to extend this service to vulnerable young people at risk of sexual exploitation. It will also help people living with HIV, who have had debt advice from THT, to help them gain the confidence and skills to return to work.

Jane Morel, Regional Manager at Terrence Higgins Trust said: ‘ It’s fantastic news that the HBOS Foundation is continuing to support this work. The grant means that we will be able to offer the service to people who often require intense emotional support to rebuild their lives while also providing advice about benefits, employment, immigration and housing issues. Over the past two years the service has helped over 180 people, produced a booklet for people living with HIV to help them manage their finances and provided training to other organisations to raise awareness of the challenges living with HIV can present. We believe that further support from the HBOS Foundation will help us to really make an impact where it is most needed.’

Janet Roberts, Grants Officer for the HBOS Foundation said: ‘We’re delighted to provide further funding for this worthwhile service. We hope it will have a lasting impact on people living with HIV in the West Midlands – not only by directly helping those living with HIV and those at risk, but by breaking down barriers and changing attitudes about HIV within the community.’

The additional funding will allow THT to employ a project manager for two years, it will also be used to pay for training and other activities that will address important areas of clients’ needs such as counselling, providing access to volunteering and work experience opportunities and mentoring.

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