It’s been a big year in the life of Surry Hills’ Positive Living Centre. The centre has overcome its 2001 funding and management crisis, settled down and managed to recreate itself into a viable and essential community-run facility for a wide range of HIV-positive people.

This weekend there will be a chance to check out how things are changing at the centre, have a free go at some of the many different services on offer and check out the future direction of the centre.

The centre is holding its Absolutely Fabulous Open Day on Saturday and launching the program for the next six months.

Centre manager Lance Feeney (pictured) says the coming months will see more on offer for a wider range of positive people.

It’s been a very good year for the centre, we’ve been slowly building and settling down, establishing itself. In the next six months we’re looking at programs for positive working people, Feeney says.

The focus on the needs of HIV-positive working people has stretched the centre’s opening hours from Monday to Friday to Monday to Saturday

Feeney says up to 700 people are utilising the centre’s services every month, and the number is growing. The client base is also becoming more diverse, and the new program is aimed to reflect that, he says.

Some of the highlights of the new calendar are writing classes, web design, therapies (including yoga, shiatzu and acupuncture), leathercraft, photography, shopping trips and a program for positive people and their pets. The pets program will include grooming advice, obedience training and social get-togethers for pet owners.

Feeney says he’s confident some of the new activities will prove as popular as current favourites such as the computer training and existing complementary therapies, which are usually booked out a week in advance.

Of the centre’s regular clients, Feeney says most come from inner-city areas.

This is an epicentre of our client base. While some come from as far as Kogarah or Sydney’s outer western suburbs, the majority live quite near the centre.

And the clients are at many different stages of their lives, he says.

Many people are doing just fine and that’s fantastic. We’d like to see them occasionally, but we also want people to know if something happens -“ a health problem, an emotional problem -“ then we are here to help them. We have programs to help people get back into work, and we’re really about generally making positive people’s quality of life a bit better.

The centre is managed by ACON in partnership with the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, People Living With HIV/AIDS, Darlinghurst Community Health, the Luncheon Club and Positive Heterosexuals.

 

The Positive Living Centre, at 703 Bourke St, Surry Hills, is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday. This Saturday is the centre’s Absolutely Fabulous Open Day with free trials of services and therapies. The open day will run from 11 to 3 and will also launch the centre’s six-month calendar. Drop in to pick up a calendar, or call David or Lance on 9699 8756 to have one sent out or for more information.

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