The Luncheon Club’s meal and larder services will be taken over by ACON and the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation following the charity’s closure forced by fundraising difficulties.
The two organisations plan to have Monday’s lunch continue as normal before undertaking a review of the services’ long-term independence.
Founder Carole Ann King sent out smoke signals for help earlier this year after concluding it could not run on volunteer enthusiasm alone.
Times were different 15 years ago for people with HIV/AIDS, anti-retrovirals were yet to be introduced, many people were sick and death rates were very high, King said. The luncheons provided a way to end the isolation and entertainment fed their souls.
ACON CEO Stevie Clayton said she would apply to keep the existing state government funding, but would have to make an initial injection of funds to keep it running.
It’s not going to be easy. We don’t have a huge pot of money, what we have is money to keep it running in the short term while we get out there and fundraise, she said.
The difference is ACON and BGF already have infrastructure for that fundraising, so hopefully it will be easier for us than for a small group of volunteers.
Right now we don’t have to consider reducing any other programs or not starting on new work, but if we’re not successful in fundraising enough money for the Luncheon Club within the first six months then we’ll have to reassess our priorities.
Having two separate organisations involved would help split the costs and the risk, Clayton said.
Positive Life CEO Rob Lake said it was critical the Luncheon Club continue, and BGF in particular had a strong fundraising record to achieve that.
The efforts of Carole Ann, the board, staff and volunteers have made a real and profound difference to the lives of many people with HIV over the last 15 years, particularly those struggling with poverty and other hardship, Lake told the Sydney Star Observer. In passing the torch to ACON and BGF, Carole Ann leaves some very big shoes to fill.