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Thursday 29 June 2017


Body Positive to shut Wellington office

Posted in: HIV, New Zealand Daily News
By GayNZ.com daily News staff - 31st August 2015

Just two years after it opened, Body Positive's Wellington office is to be shut down as the organisation faces a financial shortfall of $75,000.

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Announcing the closure to the HIV-positive people's peer support and advocacy organisation's membership Executive Director Mark Fisher and chair Ashley Barratt say the Auckland office will be downsized due to "tight fiscal pressure" and its belief that funding from the health sector will decline in the future.

"We receive core funding from Ministry of Health but remain reliant on support of other parties including pharmaceutical organisations, donations from charitable trusts and lotteries and other donor agencies for our remaining funding. All of this other funding is at risk, and Body Positive is competing for that funding with many other worthy causes. With the benefit of antiretroviral medication It is possible for all people living with HIV to live long and healthy lives. The effect of this is that the funding available to the HIV sector and agencies such as Body Positive is likely to reduce in the future," Fisher and Barratt say in a letter sent out to members earlier this evening.

Closure of the Courtenay Place,Wellington office means longtime BP staffer Ron Irvine's office manager job in the capital will disappear. The office will remain open until September 30th "and the office furniture will be dispersed with with consideration from whence it came as some pieces were donated and have significant history."

In May Fisher told GayNZ.com he foresaw a need for more intensive community fundraising to support Body Positive's work. He said discussions with HIV-positive people around the country he had talked to after his appointment to the top BP job indicated they feel the organisation is "very Auckland-centric and so the rest of the country gets left behind. There's a need for support in areas like the South Island and Northland where their own group closed down and now there's isn't a lot of support there. There is a lot of opportunity there in terms of reaching out to the rest of the HIV community and providing stuff to them.”

He said then it was unlikely public funding would automatically increase to pay for his plans and he would be relying more on awareness, education, leadership and community fundraising.


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