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Author Topic: UKC is closing  (Read 2721 times)

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Offline Cliff

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UKC is closing
« on: July 27, 2007, 09:28:32 AM »
If you're on the UK CAB mailing distribution list, you've probably already seen that apparently the UKC is closing.  What a shame.  That was the first place I went to for HIV help when I moved to London.  And it was the place that helped me when I was considering my options on disclosing my HIV status on an employment medical form.

I hope another organisation (besides THT) is able to step up to the plate.

Offline carousel

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  • Posts: 821
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2007, 12:27:52 PM »
Cliff

I thought it was the part of UKC that publishes Positive Nation that was finishing.  I think that some of the contracts have come to an end, but with a shortfall in funding, they are not able to sustain the magazine.

I wondered why they did not have more advertising outside of the HIV services or whether they had sought advertising and nobody was willing to advertise in such a magazine/

It's a shame, as the magazine has always been helpful, especially in providing information to and about communities seemingly under respresented in HIV services and resources.

I always keep saying that I'm going to pop into their offices, as I am just down the road.

What I have always liked is that UKC is staffed and volunteered by people living with HIV.

Offline Cliff

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Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2007, 04:56:58 AM »
Unless I'm confused (quite possible), I think the whole shop may be closing.  I read about the closure of the magazine a month or two ago, but all the messages now seem to be about the entire organisation closing.

Offline keyite

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  • Posts: 514
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2007, 06:10:11 AM »
The whole thing is closing. A few staff will be kept on for a little while to finish a contractual obligation not connected with Positive Nation but effectively the organisation is no more.

It is particularly sad that Positive Nation is gone, as it no doubt has been a lifeline for those living outside the big cities or otherwise isolated from other positive people. There really isn't any other publications to fill that gap. I have seen a glossy mag called plus|v|e around but the quality of the writing is pretty low.

You wonder if UKC's board couldn't have handled the financial crisis better. Earlier intervention to close parts of the operation could perhaps have saved the organisation. Or they could have tried to transfer the operation of the magazine to a new entity and adapted the business model. It was great the mag was free but I would happily have paid an annual subscription - so too, I think, would a lot of readers. Oh well, too late now.

Offline nottsnicola

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Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2007, 12:27:24 AM »
Unfortunately, Cliff, you are absolutely right and not confused. The UKC officially went into liquidation on Friday 27 July at 5 pm BST, told to pack up our desks and go. I should know - I was one of the staff made redundant as of that time.

I'm not going to point the finger at the board of trustees or the management - in the last couple of months, they have been desperately seeking more funding to contuinue their excellent support services for plwha in the UK, including myself. Like Cliff, UKC was the organisation I turned to when I was diagnosed in 2002 - they became my new family, the chair of the board a personal friend, they trained me to become an advice worker and helped me to set up a new support service for plwha where I live, eventually employing me to help others.

So Friday was a sad sad day for us at the UKC, most of whom are living with HIV. It's a sad reflection that yet again, the care and support of people living with HIV in the UK has become deeply unfashionble in terms of getting funding. Mentioning no names of "other" organisations, you should note that the other main supposedly "HIV organisation" in the UK that continues to have unlimited funding thrown its way does so because it has actually dropped care and support for plwha from its mission statement, prefering instead to focus on generic sexual health promotion and even the "reduction of teenage pregancies" (not exactly what it was set up for...).

For those of you that don't know, John Campbell, one of the founders of UKC back in 1993, sadly passed away last month from an AIDS-related illness, aged 39. May he rest in peace as he was a staunch HIV campaigner. So if the various funding bodies in the UK think that AIDS has gone away, and that everyone living with HIV is just fine, they are mistaken. I myself may be physically OK (although with a CD4 count that has hovered around 200 for the last 3 years, mainly due to the fact I was diagnosed with HIV with a CD4 count of 10) they are wrong. We can't all go back to work and get on with things - several of my close friends are now aging with HIV and really struggling in terms of getting the care and support that they need. As I speak, there are 6 people with AIDS-related illnesses in my local hospital, of which not all are expected to last the week. And this is the UK.

So, like the rest of the now redundant UKC staff, we are very sad. Sad that the funding bodies in the UK seem to think that AIDS has gone away. Sad that thousands of people die every day around the world, all for the sake of a few pills that they can't access. Sad that people with HIV living in a so-called developed country can't get the support they need.

Maybe it is time for us to get militant again. Don't know how things are in the US but I'm damned glad to have this forum for some kind of support. Support that myself and others really should be getting over here, in what is supposed to be a developed country.

The UKC's mission statement was "enabling the diverse voices of plwha to be heard with a view to influencing change". They never deviated from that mission, even though the powers that be want us to put up and shut up. They don't want to listen to us or even acknowledge we exist. With the demise of UKC, due to lack of funding, we should all remember the past message we all fought for - "silence is death".

Sorry if I'm rambling. Being made redundant is the least of my worries. What I'm most upset about is that the UKC, an organisation that picked me up from the floor when I was diagnosed, and did so much for me is no more. And I , along with other now former UKC staff, are very very upset about that. Where is our voice now?

Love to you all, hope you can understand.

Nicola x
« Last Edit: July 29, 2007, 02:52:04 AM by nottsnicola »

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2007, 03:37:45 PM »
I can't understand why Elton John's Foundation or SOMEONE hasn't come out of the woodwork and saved this very worthwhile organization.

And is it really too late?
Andy Velez

Offline keyite

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  • Posts: 514
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2007, 06:02:25 PM »
Sadly I think the emerging picture is one of financial and strategic mismanagement. UKC justified the closure of Positive Nation by painting a picture of it as a venture that was financially unsustainable, not least because it had to be propped up by frequent cash injections from other UKC revenue streams.

Yet the managing editor of PN, Amanda Elliot, writes in the last ever edition of PN that the magazine last year "earned 230,000 in advertising revenue on top of generous support from drug companies and the NHS". Apparently 2007/08 was promising to be another bumper year. However, PN "struggled to meet a dramatic three-fold increase in overheads paid each month to UKC".

It goes onto quote a spokesperson at the Dept of Health as saying: "The decision to close PN was made by the Board of Directors at UKC and we have not been approached about any rescue package".

It is hard to tell who exactly is telling the truth but it does sound like PN was more of a cashcow than a drain to UKC. Whatever the truth is, it is utterly shameful that so little was done to secure a future for the magazine. One can only hope someone out there finds a way to continue it away from UKC.

Nicola - hope you find a new job soon.

Offline nottsnicola

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Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2007, 07:47:07 PM »
Hi again,

Sorry, I'm forgetting my manners, I should have introduced myself as I'm new as a member on this forum, which I have to say is fantastic. I've turned to it many times for suport, but as a reader, not a member (I'm shy!). I'm Nicola, diagnosed in 2002 and living in the UK, although I spent most of my working life before my diagnosis living in various European countries and Egypt, teaching English as a Foreign Language. Had to give that up when I got diagnosed - surprising how many countries have restrictions banning people with HIV from getting a residence permit!

I got involved with UKC back in 2004, even though I don't live in London. They funded me to train as a guidance worker, as part of their fabulous Positive Futures project, helping people with HIV look at their options and get back to work if possible. That project was amazing and one of the good things to remain after the demise of UKC is that they were able to roll it out to other partner organisations around the UK and that work will go on.

Andy - as far as I'm aware, all possible sources of funding were explored, including the one you mention. No joy. Many big funders are now putting a lot of money into projects overseas, especially Africa, and lets face it, they need it more urgently.

Keyite - who's telling the truth? I can't answer that one right now...I'm an insider and I have heard both sides but the jury in my head is still out. What I can tell you is that Positive Nation may well make a reappearance. That magazine was truly amazing - I read my first copy while I was waiting for my very first hospital appointment after diagnosis. Even my family read it - it helped them understand my situation and I'm sure that's the case for many others.

Hey ho. Got a clinic appointment tomorrow - oh dear, my LFTs will be off the scale as a result of me drowning my sorrows all weekend and it won't have done my CD4 count any good I fear. But life goes on - I have access to free medication and great medical care. So I give thanks for that and get on with life.

Offline carousel

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  • Posts: 821
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2007, 06:06:13 AM »
I'm so sorry to hear that this is happening.

The resources for HIV people seems to be getting so problematic of late.  Whether it is lack of funding, mismanagement or incompetence, the people who suffer are us.


Offline keyite

  • Member
  • Posts: 514
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2007, 03:54:12 PM »
A little ray of sunshine. I heard tonight that Positive Nation has been sold off. Don't know to who but the new owner is apparently expected to continue the magazine much as before. A rumour, admittedly, but one from a source close to UKC.

 :) :) :)

Offline RobT

  • Member
  • Posts: 319
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2007, 06:57:47 PM »
I just clicked on their URL and it said:

The board of directors of the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS Limited regret that the organisation ceased operations at 5pm on Friday 2th July 2007
and is now working towards winding up the organisation
due to insolvency.

Don't know what the end result of this is, but I hope that there will b more HIV/AIDS support services.

Rob


Current meds: Atripla
VL: undetectable
CD4: 630

Offline nottsnicola

  • Member
  • Posts: 12
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2007, 08:20:24 PM »
Hi folks,

Time for a bit of an update on this one. Keyite mentioned a "ray of sunshine" about Positive Nation magazine, from "a source close to UKC". I've today had information (also from a source very close to UKC!) that the magazine has indeed been sold on and is now getting ready to publish again, very soon. If this is true, it's great news - Positive Nation was always a lifeline for people living with HIV, not just in the UK but all over the world (through its internet version). I hope that if the phoenix rises, it stays true to being a voice for all of us  living with HIV and that it will also be available on the internet so that it can be read by everyone, all over the world.

So, I'm looking out for it and I'm sure others will be too, and ready to welcome Positive Nation back, where it belongs, for us all.

Nicola x

Offline penguin

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  • Posts: 747
  • The Penguin Whisperer
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2007, 05:11:33 PM »
good to hear this news, nicola - thanks for keeping us updated  :)

kate


Offline keyite

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  • Posts: 514
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2007, 06:48:35 PM »
Apparently the new owner is called Sugar Media and they're planning for PN to be back as early as end of this month: http://www.positivenation.co.uk/subscriptions.html

The only worry is that the new outfit seems to own quite a mixed bag of different titles; news for students, school leavers, a global traveller magazine, 'Polish News', and so on. With such a diverse portfolio you can't help but wonder if it's not purely profit-orientated motives that lie behind the acquisition and whether the future editorial stance of PN will suffer as a consequence.

I guess only time can tell... 

Offline carousel

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  • Posts: 821
Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2007, 07:10:07 PM »
That's exciting news.  From what I know of the people behind Sugar Media, they should be able to keep the magazine on a surer financial footing, while supporting the ethos behind the publication.


Offline Andy Velez

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Re: UKC is closing
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2007, 09:41:17 AM »
That's great news about PN continuing on!

Big cheers!
Andy Velez

 


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