Barclays Spectrum raise £130,000 to support HIV+ people

Barclays Spectrum raise £130,000 to support HIV+ people

Photo : Michael Roemer, Barclays’ Global LGBT+ lead and Head of Compliance, actor and Terrence Higgins Trust patron Simon Callow, and Terrence Higgins Trust Chief Executive Ian Green

Barclays Spectrum – the bank’s inclusive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employee network group – raised £130,000 to support leading HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust at its annual fundraising dinner at The Savoy in London, attended by 350 people.

Singer Will Young performed at the event hosted by veteran actor Simon Callow. Guests included Olympic gold medal winning couple Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh and dancer Wayne Sleep.

The money raised will help to fund Terrence Higgins Trust’s Work Positive programme, which supports unemployed people living with HIV back to work.

One of the highlights of the night was hearing from Matthew, who was diagnosed with HIV 22 years ago and had been unemployed for 17 years when he joined the programme. He’s now in full-time work and shared his story of how the programme turned his life around.

He said : “When I was diagnosed, I told my employer at the time and he decided it was the right thing to tell the whole company. I couldn’t work there anymore after this because everyone was starting to bully me and didn’t want to work with me. I lost a lot of confidence in people.”

While HIV has changed hugely since Matthew was diagnosed, around one in four people living with HIV in the UK is unemployed. The programme – which has been running for the last five years and helped over 100 people – provides mentoring, training and work placements.

Matthew said : “Everyone now says I’m a totally different person – I can go into an office where I don’t know anyone and do a presentation to 30 or 40 people. No way I could’ve done that three years ago. Terrence Higgins Trust gives you the strength to move on from your diagnosis.”

Photo : Will Young performing at the event

“Inspiration comes from many places and Barclays is proud to sponsor Terrence Higgins Trust’s Work Positive programme which brings visibility to role models who challenge and improve culture in the workplace and more importantly, inspire the change to make inclusion a reality for all.”

Chart-topping singer Will Young lent his support to the cause, performing hits like Leave Right Now and Light My Fire, as well as a cover of the late David Bowie’s Let’s Dance.

He said : “I really enjoyed performing at the Barclays Spectrum Dinner and it’s so rewarding to know the money raised is going to help people living with HIV get back to work. I am so pleased to support the work of Terrence Higgins Trust.”

Barclays Spectrum chose Terrence Higgins Trust as its charity for this year’s fundraising dinner.

Michael Roemer, Barclays’ Global LGBT+ lead and Head of Compliance, said: “Inspiration comes from many places and Barclays is proud to sponsor Terrence Higgins Trust’s Work Positive programme which brings visibility to role models who challenge and improve culture in the workplace and more importantly, inspire the change to make inclusion a reality for all.”

The funds raised by Barclays Spectrum ensure the programme continues for another year, raising an impressive £130,000 on the night.

Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said : “Thank you to both Barclays and Barclays Spectrum for their on going support for Terrence Higgins Trust. We work hard to empower people to live well with HIV and our back to work programme is a key part of this.

“Stories like Matthew’s are incredibly humbling and we want to keep providing this opportunity to other people who want to get back to work but need support to get there.”

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About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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