Eating Positively is a series of nutrition and cookery classes delivered free of charge by the charity The Food Chain, which offers nutritional information and workshops to people in London living with HIV. The service develops lesson plans, recipes and factsheets to respond to the individual needs of their members, as well as delivering practical, kitchen-based nutrition classes.
National Lottery funding paid for food ingredients, equipment, volunteer training and expenses for the classes.
Since the beginning of the project in 2013, Eating Positively has helped 397 people living with HIV in London. The Food Chain has delivered 143 Eating Positively classes in a bespoke training kitchen in Acorn House and in other HIV support services in and around London. Demonstration sessions run off-site enabled the project to reach out to more people living with HIV in London and to work with 15 HIV support providers and charities from across London.
The physical and emotional benefits to users of the service have been huge. People living with HIV are amongst the most vulnerable in society. The stress and social stigma associated with HIV diagnosis mean that they are at greater risk of experiencing mental ill health and lack of appetite, which is also a common side effect of HIV medication, and Eating Positively not only helps sufferers to improve their eating habits, but also provides emotional support in an inclusive, non-judgemental environment.