Manchester HIV charity’s ‘positive radio’ racks up 2.5k listening hours

Manchester HIV charity George House Trust is celebrating the success of a groundbreaking ‘positive-thinking’ radio station for those suffering with the virus.

The idea began when the charity held courses for people living with HIV who wanted to learn how to produce online radio shows.

Positive Radio incorporated the experiences, thoughts and opinions of people living with HIV into their shows.

Paul Graham, trustee and volunteer at George House Trust said: “So far it has been more successful than I ever imagined it would be.

“The idea was for a radio station that was pre-recorded to give people experiences, and run classes to give people confidence and skills in self-motivation.”

Paul has a background in radio and film and was asked to consider being a trustee of GHT based on his media experience.

“Last Monday we had 1000 hours of listening and the figure has been increasing every day. It is far, far more than we ever expected.”

The team at GHT were joined by Mashed Youth project in Bury, a charity for 13-25 year olds that provides courses aimed at increasing self-esteem and boosting confidence in socially excluded young people.

One of the aims of the group is to teach young people about sex education.

Many of the ideas for Positive Radio were generated by 15 and 16-year-olds who interviewed nurses and doctors.

Paul said: “With the teenagers, it wasn’t about preaching to the converted, but to people learning from the start.”

Paul said the experience had been brilliant and the team had received messages of encouragement from around the globe.

BBC Radio Manchester also contributed by providing pre-recorded HIV and AIDS news bulletins.

The project, which launched on Worlds Aids Day finishes on Monday, but GHT members are already considering doing it again next year.

Paul said: “There is obviously a need for Positive Radio and we might see if we can get funding to expand the project sometime next year.

“We have been a little bit stunned with the response.”

Image courtesy of Elger van der Wel, with thanks

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