The +Family Life Project aims to support families where there are children under the age of twelve and where someone within the family unit is affected by HIV. The goals of the project are closely linked to our strategic plan, but the overall aim is to improve the lives of families. There are three main anticipated outcomes from the project:

  • That children and their families will have more skills, knowledge and understanding to overcome adversity. For many of the families involved in the project, a diagnosis of HIV is only one of a number of issues they may be dealing with. Others include relationship breakdown, poverty, cultural issues, and dysfunctional family dynamics. We aim to help individuals within the family units to find their own solutions to their problems and to learn new skills along the way by taking a holistic approach.
  • That more children and their families will come together to learn. The pressure of dealing with a diagnosis of HIV can create barriers within families, and as a result, communication breaks down and relationships suffer. We organise events that bring families together in a spirit of collaborative learning so that they can start to rebuild these relationships.
  • That more children and their families will be a part of the community they live in. So many families who are affected by HIV find themselves isolated not only from other family members, but also from their local community. We help them realise than HIV should not prevent them from playing a full and active part in local activities and from accessing local services.

The +Family Life Project is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and works in partnership with Advice Space and Relate NI so every aspect of family life can be explored, from practical help with benefits, to the provision of counselling services.

Events are organised throughout the year which bring the families together so that when they are ready to move on, they have the confidence, resilience and skills to take their place once again within their own local communities.

An HIV diagnosis can have a tremendous impact not only on the individual but on the wider family unit.

At Positive Life we offer support to families because we realise that those affected by HIV need to know they too have someone they can turn to for practical help such as support with benefits, or counselling and complementary therapies.

The children in these families may not be aware of the reasons behind family tension, but they experience the ill effects which can lead them to be withdrawn and depressed.

We organise family events which provide the children with opportunities to play together, and the adults with the chance to share their own personal experiences with each other.

Our overall aim is to help families, where there is someone with a diagnosis of HIV, build their resilience and confidence so they can feel less isolated and re-join their local communities with a renewed sense of belonging.

Our approach is holistic and tailored to meet the specific needs of each family.

For many of the families, HIV will be just one of several issues they are facing and sometimes the pressure of facing them altogether can feel overwhelming.

We work in partnership with Advice Space and Relate NI to provide a wraparound service for our families, giving them the space to deal effectively with whatever problems they have, and to learn new skills so that they are better prepared for the future.