The Begin Project provides support and advocacy for all people living with or affected by HIV in the Wakefield District.
The aim of Begin is to deliver services that are centred on the needs of the individual. The type of support you receive, as well as how much and how often you access it is up to you.
The family and friends of people living with HIV often need support too. That is why Begin also provides services to people affected by HIV.
Begin also works closely with Yorkshire MESMAC Wakefield. Please click here to view a guide to all of the services in Wakefield that are provided by Yorkshire MESMAC.
At our first meeting we will discuss what living with HIV means to you and any other issues affecting your life. We use an assessment form so there is less chance that things are missed. Everyone who comes to us is different, so together we will then look at what services and support would be best for you
We will ask you to sign a consent form so that we can get proof of your HIV status. Your personal information will be stored securely and we will not disclose your HIV status or your use of Begin services to anyone without your consent. Our confidentiality policy will be fully explained to you.
Everyone who comes to us is different, so together we will then look at what services and support would be best for you.
If you are HIV positive and have found yourself in financial difficulties, we can help you to apply for financial grants to offer some relief in times of hardship on a limited short term basis. We access grants from Vicars Relief Fund and the HIV Hardship Fund.
We provide advice and support around welfare and benefits including:
- Telling you about other relevant agencies.
- Obtaining letters of support for health related welfare issues.
- Challenging decisions that have been made in relation to welfare support.
People living with HIV can face discrimination and this is something that we work to combat. Your support worker will contact organisations for you or with you to make enquiries, access services, make complaints and/or seek information and advice. This may be done by telephone, email, by letter or in person at a joint meeting/visit.
At Begin you will have access to a telephone, printing and photocopying, computers and the internet to help you.
If you are HIV positive and have found yourself in financial difficulties, we can help you to apply for financial grants.
We will try and work out the best way for you to access support. 1-2-1 support is based around your needs and can be very informal. This will give you the opportunity to discuss anything you like. You can request a home visit and you can also access support by telephone.
Support groups can be a very important way of accessing advice, help and support. We have regular support group meetings for people living with and affected by HIV. These are a great opportunity to meet new people who have similar experiences to you, get support and make new friends.
We can offer free short term individual counselling for you, your partner or both of you as a couple. Counsellors are trained to listen and help you clarify what is going on for you and what steps you personally need to take to improve your situation.
All counsellors used by Begin are experienced and qualified counselling professionals.
All counsellors used by Begin have a good understanding of specific issues relating to living with HIV.
We supply free formula milk for parents who have newborns up to the age of 1 year old. This is a popular service to help parents to ensure that their child has the appropriate nutrition and to prevent HIV being passed on via breastmilk.
We are able to advise on HIV related questions with pregnancy, talking to children about HIV and support parents in their decisions.
Support groups can be a very important way of accessing advice, help and support.
If you want to access other health support services such as gym memberships, you can apply for a financial contribution towards these services through the Health Support Grant. Complementary therapies are available if the specific therapy is recommended by NHS Choices as a clinically proven strategy. If you are in doubt or wish to ask questions, please contact Tom Hunt on firstname.lastname@example.org or text only 07551 159 564.
This support can only be given to people on low incomes as our budget for providing this is limited.
If you using the services at Begin, you are not limited to just accessing the group sessions, but you are also welcome to make appointments with staff during working hours from Monday to Friday.
If English is not your first language we may be able to provide an interpreter. Please contact us to find out which languages we can offer this service for.
We also offer:
- Workshops and training on issues that matter to HIV positive people.
- Advice and information.
- Practical support and referrals to other services.
- A variety of additional social activities and support
- Free Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea pee-in-a-pot testing and self-taken vaginal, rectal and throat swabs
You are also welcome to make appointments with staff during working hours from Monday to Friday.