LASS and LASS Social Enterprise Ltd.
‘I am writing to just say thank you for welcoming me at LASS on my one day placement. You are a great and wonderful team with a great positive impact to the community. I felt as part of the team and indeed many thanks for the knowledge you have imparted upon me. Keep up the good work.’ - Volunteer
Established in 1987, the Leicestershire AIDS Support Services (LASS) was set up with the objective to provide a support network for people diagnosed with HIV positive and those living with aids within the City of Leicester and Rutland. Support is also offered through LhivE, a peer led advocacy and activities group.
With Leicester having the fastest-rising HIVE rate in the East Midlands and the sixth-highest in the country, LASS aim to destruct the stigma associated with HIV, disable the feelings of isolation experienced by many of those who are infected with the disease and combat the ignorance of the general population.
Not only do the LASS staff and volunteers deliver training and education about HIV, sexual health, stigma and discrimination, they also work to prevent the spread of HIV through the provision of Rapid Mobile HIV testing. The test involves a simple prick of the finger, takes a matter of minutes and is proven to be 99.96% accurate.
This initiative was introduced two years ago and is already estimated to have saved the health services £3 million. LASS have administered approximately 800 tests, 12 of which have come back positive. If an individual is found to have a positive test result, they are taken to the GU clinic where they will have a further test for confirmation with a view that, no matter what the test result, the individual will be able to carry on with their lives. Support and advocacy workers are available to offer individually tailored support and advice.
The service also offers practical guidance on issues such as housing, welfare benefits, debt, education and employment. LASS was recognised for their excellent work in 2011 when awarded in the national Charity Awards.
It was also in 2011 when LASS created ‘Well for Living’- a social enterprise group that transfers all its profit back to its parent charity. Well for Living was created in order to enable LASS to expand beyond its current boundaries and to generate an income that is not dependent on government or local authority funding. Whilst this enterprise is based with LASS in Leicester it is able to trade throughout the UK.
Amongst its projects is the East Midlands African HIV Prevention Partnership (EMAHPP). Well for Living has come together with other groups in the East Midlands to raise awareness of HIV in the African Communities. This is achieved through promoting HIV knowledge and encouraging people to know their HIV status through testing - a similar testing process to that provided by LASS. Well for Living also runs an online shop which produces various items such as Christmas cards and T-shirts and has also produced a 2012 Leicestershire Community Calendar.
Both LASS and Well for Living are members of Attend. ‘We enjoy being members of Attend for the insurance benefits, the newsletters and the opportunity to be in contact with a wide range of health and social care organisations. It’s interesting to see how other organisations deliver their services,’ says Jenny Hand, CEO of LASS.
‘On behalf of STaSS, I would like to say a big thank you for attending our AGM/PLC, we at STaSS are very grateful to be part of Lass.”
Created 17th January 2013