Leicestershire AIDS Support Services has won a prestigious GlaxoSmithKline IMPACT Award for its outstanding contribution to improving health in Leicestershire, GSK and The King’s Fund announced last night at the award ceremony held at London’s Science Museum. LASS provides rapid HIV testing, support, information and advocacy to people affected by HIV and AIDS in one of the most diverse areas in England. Leicester has many different communities and an above average population of HIV positive people.
To slow down the spread of HIV and help people to access treatment, LASS invests in rapid testing services in community settings. There is particularly low uptake in some African communities, so LASS trains volunteers from these communities to carry out testing and provide information. They provide testing at a range of events and venues including African football tournaments to reach people who otherwise wouldn’t be tested. LASS also provides services for people with the virus and maybe coping with other issues like poor mental health, and they provide healthy living training.
The GSK IMPACT Awards, GSK’s flagship UK corporate responsibility programme organised in partnershop with The King’s Fund, is seen as a ‘seal of excellence’ in the sector. As well as as receiving £30,000 in funding during a difficult financial climate, the winners can take part in a training programme hosted by The King’s Fund that provides training, development and networking opportunities. Feedback has shown that this opportunity is as important to the winning charities as the funding as it helps them develop the skills to carry on building their organisation.
Katie Pinnock, Director of UK Corporate Contributions at GSK, OR Lisa Weaks, Third Sector Programme Manager at The King’s Fund said:
‘Congratulations to LASS, a strong winner in these awards. Their work providing, support for people with HIV and bringing testing into local communities, is making a real difference tobpeople lives in hard-to-reach groups. It is sharing best practice to further improve outcomes for its service users as well.’
Patrick Bowe, Chair of LASS Board of Trustees , said:
We are absolutely delighted to be recognised at this high level for the impact of our local work supporting and empowering people living with HIV, and challenging and breaking down stigma and discrimination. Our community HIV testing programme is contributing to government public health targets and has already saved the health service more than £3million through encouraging more people to have an HIV test and know their HIV status.
This huge achievement for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is due to the continued commitment by a great team of staff and volunteers. They are determined to deliver the highest standard of services possible and make a significant diference in HIV provision locally with a relatively small budget. This award will make a significant difference to the profile of our work and the reputation of LASS and our new social enterprise.
The calibre of award is reflected in its judging panel who chose the winners, which this year includes Professor Steve Field, Deputy National Medical Director at NHS England (health inequalities); the journalist, Fiona Philips; Peter Wanless, CEO of The Big Lottery; Gilly Green, Head of UK Grants at Comic Relief; Sir Christopher Gent, Chairman of GSK; and, Sir Chris Kelly, Chair of The King’s Fund.
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