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      News From The Eddystone Trust

      World AIDS Day Cookie Recipe

      World AIDS Day Cookie Recipe

      World AIDS Day is on December 1st each year and is an opportunity for people to join together to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from an A illness

      Mark World AIDS Day with red ribbon cookies…

      Ingredients for the cookies:

      200g dairy-free butter
      1 tsp vanilla paste
      100g caster sugar
      300g plain flour, sifted

      For the icing:

      125g icing sugar
      15ml warm water
      Red food colouring

      Ready, steady, bake!

      Step 1: cream the butter, vanilla and sugar together.  Stir in the flour and mix into a dough.  Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up

      Step 2: meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160C/140C (fan)/320F and line a baking tray with parchment paper

      Step 3: once the dough is chilled, roll out to approximately1/2cm thickness and cut with your red ribbon cutter.  Place on the baking sheet, sprinkle with a little extra sugar and bake for 12/15 minutes until golden brown at the edges, turning halfway through to ensure even baking

      Step 4: leave to cool for at least 10 mins before serving or decorations

      Step 5: sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add the warm water until the icing becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  If necessary, add a drop of water or the icing sugar to adjust the consistency.  Add drops of red food colouring until you get a lovely dark red colour then ice your cookies 

      Share your cookies online and tag us in!!!


      Chemsex Support Service Launch, Sept 30th, 2021

      Chemsex Support Service Launch, Sept 30th, 2021

      Join The Eddystone Trust on the 30th of September as we launch our Chemsex Support Service. The event will showcase our new service, which provides both one to one and group support for men who have sex with other men, who want to take control of their relationship with chems and sex. The event will provide an introduction to chemsex and staff can answer any questions you may have.

      Please join us for an interactive and engaging session.

      The Chemsex service will support individuals who are using drugs within a sexualised setting offering harm reduction advice and information, psychosocial interventions, and signposting and onward referral to other support services.

      If you have any questions about the service or the event please contact cs@eddytsone.org.uk for more information.

       

      We are looking for trustees

      We are looking for trustees

      We are looking for people to join our Board of Trustees...  

      The Eddystone Trust is at a pivotal point in our development and are looking for creative and motivated people to join us in developing our plans and creating a sustainable future for the charity.  

      We are a small charity that makes a big impact in the lives of individual people across the southwest of England. 

      Working in sexual health takes us to the heart of inequality in our society, talking about sexual wellbeing is still difficult for many people, a reality made worse by the impact of every one of the “isms” (sexism, ageism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia etc) and the fact that stigma and discrimination is sadly still rife in our communities.

      We have a small, friendly and supportive Board, which we want to be fully inclusive so if you are drawn to finding out more we are interested in talking to you. 

      You don’t need to be an expert in HIV or sexual health but you do need to have the drive to want to help us make a difference in the world.  And don’t worry about previous experience at Board level, whether you know your way round a set of board papers or are just curious about the idea of being a trustee; in both cases support will be provided to take on the role. 

      The minimum commitment is approximately four meetings a year (currently held online) with opportunities to get more involved in areas of agency or service development should you want to.  

      If you are interested please send an introductory email outlining who you are and why you are interested to mags.davies@eddystone.org.uk

      This is a rolling opportunity so if this ad is on our website we are keen to hear from you so don’t hesitate! 

      Pride month closing statement

      Pride month closing statement

      As we move out of Pride month and into July, the sea of rainbows that have sprung up will make way for the next promotional tool.   However, The Eddystone Trust has always strived to ensure that everyone has access to up to date and accurate sexual health information and advice whoever they have sex with, whatever month it is.
      We know that many LGBTQ+ people have experiences that have helped to build up barriers to accessing healthcare. Negative, homophobic views about sex, that still exist today, mean that LGBTQ+ people do not always feel comfortable or able to open up or reveal everything about their sex life. This fear of judgment can have an impact on sexual, mental and physical health.
      We may change the banner on our Facebook page, but we want you to know that we aim to offer a non-judgmental service that empowers and informs everyone with the messages they need, at the time they need to hear them, all year round!

      If you need to talk to us about anything sexual health then please contact us on 0800 328 3508 or email info@eddystone.org.uk

      Why we all need Pride

      Why we all need Pride

      Pride.  

      You may have noticed rainbow flags appearing on products from Vodka to breakfast cereal signifying that Pride month is upon us; a month to mark the Stonewall riots of 1969 and for the LGBTQ+ to stand together in defiance of homophobia and discrimination. The visibility of the Pride flag and messages of inclusion and diversity are used to send hope to those who may be struggling with or on account of their sexuality.  

      But do we need Pride? Whilst growing up in a small town in the South West in the 80’s/90’s my answer would have been an unequivocal yes. I had my share of bullying at school, comments shouted in the street and more than a few hairy situations in bars. As sad as it sounds, I had come to accept these things as part of my lot. Messages of Pride, inclusion, and the idea that things could and will get better would have really helped me, and all those in a similar situation, on our journey. But that was then, haven’t things changed? 

      In the UK homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967 and same sex marriages became legal in 2014. The Equality Act of 2010 reinforced and widened legislation stopping individuals being discriminated due to their sexuality. After years of campaigning Section 28, which prevented schools promoting homosexual relationships, was removed from law in 2003. Aren't the LGBTQ+ community creating a double standard in asking to be treated the same as everyone else but wanting parties and marches based around our differences? As triggering as the question is, it’s this people are pointing to when asking ‘when is straight pride?’ 

      My answer is a big, fat YES we will always need Pride!  

      This week it was announced the town council where I live unveiled plans for a rainbow footpath, which would place the town ‘on the inclusivity map.’  A stretch of pavement will be painted with the pride and progress flags, paid for from a Town Centre Emergency Recovery Fund.  At first engaging with those against the path felt like a usual evening of sparring online. At one point I offered my services, you know, as a big, fat gay of the town, to cut the ribbon. It was reassuring to see many people who weren’t LGBTQ+ yet clearly allies supporting the path and challenging others on their views. This wasn’t an ‘us and them’ argument.  

      24 hours later and the 'debate' was still raging. Comments like:  

       'Do what you like, but do it in private.'  

       'I don't care if you like men or you are a trans penguin, stop ramming it down our throats.'  

       'Fix the potholes/feed the homeless/give free meals to kids' (and other bugbears that paled into insignificance on voting day)  

      This wasn't funny. People were in uproar. What started for me as baiting those with differing views suddenly felt upsetting and scary, and I cried.   

      This was colours on a pavement. Nothing was being rammed down anyone's throats. To those that needed to see it this path is a symbol of inclusion and acceptance, saying we see you and we welcome you. If this is how people react when a path is proposed, how would they react if they were to see an LGBTQ+ couple holding hands, showing affection, kissing? 

      It's 2021. LGBTQ+ don’t need permission or approval from anyone in terms of what is acceptable and how much of ourselves we can share. Sometimes though, it can still feel like we do.  

      In answer to the question do we need Pride, there are many examples of prejudice and discrimination that show we do still need it. The current tally of countries where it is illegal to be gay stands at 71. 35 of these countries are part of the commonwealth, the UK shares our Queen with half of the countries where it is illegal to be LGBTQ+! This isn't an accident; these laws are a throwback to colonial times and a legacy of the British Empire. As we played such a big part in laying down these rules and influencing these views, don’t we have a responsibility to play a bigger part in changing them?   

      One in five LGBTQ+ persons have experienced a hate crime because of their sexuality in the last 12 months, which increases to two in five trans people. In 2019 two women were attacked on a London bus for refusing to kiss for the entertainment of drunken men. 

      This could feel very depressing so let's not forget the progress that we have made towards equality, inclusion, and acceptance.  As stated above, there were many people in the debate on the rainbow path who were happy to stand up as an ally and challenge those who were putting forward anti-gay views and derogatory comments. Pride festivals are always well supported by those who recognise the importance of events and want to show they stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.  As we saw with the Black Lives Matters protests in 2020, allies are important and play a vital part in changing the social landscape and we need people to continue to represent. 

      The Eddystone Trust has always fought discrimination for those living with HIV and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We work hard to challenge stereotypes and shatter the idea of what is ‘normal’ sex. Talking about sexual health can be unnerving anyway, without the added complexity of feeling or being judged. This leads to barriers in accessing care and support and can have a serious impact on physical and mental health.  

      As we move through Pride season, whether it’s online or in person, let's wave our rainbow flags with pride in support and solidarity of those who need it! 

      HIV at 40 - what we know

      HIV at 40 - what we know

      Almost 40 years ago today, (5th June 1981), the first case of HIV was reported in America.   A virus that was reported to affect ‘active homosexuals.’  
      Lack of understanding and knowledge of this virus meant that those suffering and dying from the illness were stigmatised and denied the care, dignity and love they needed.
      40 years on things have changed in what we know about HIV:
      • We know people can live long and healthy lives with HIV.
      • We know people living with HIV and take medication to control the virus cannot pass it on.
      • We know conversations about how HIV is acquired allow individuals to recognise any possible exposure to the virus. This allows them to choose a prevention method right for them whether that is condoms or PrEP.
      • We know that by accessing PEP within 72 hours after a possible exposure prevents a person testing positive for HIV.
      • We know that testing regularly for HIV and being diagnosed early and accessing medication prevents damage to the immune system, further health problems and onward transmission.
      Above all, we know that the fear of HIV and lack of knowledge around the virus reinforces stigma and prejudice. Stigma prevents people talking about the virus, stops people testing and being diagnosed. It also stops people living with HIV facing up to their diagnosis, accessing care and living full and authentic lives.

      As we commit to no new transmissions of HIV by 2030 we want to stop the silence and fear around HIV. We owe it to the 30 million that have died from this virus.

      If you want to reach out to us about HIV or your sexual health then you can do so by calling 0800 328 3508 or by emailing info@eddystone.org.uk