When asked to think of a name for their very own group, the 10-12 years olds attending Body & Soul came up with ‘The BaSe’, The Body And Soul Experience. Even though many of them were unaware of HIV at this time of their life, they realised that this was unlike any other place that they had come across. It had the feel of a youth club but there was an amazing closeness between all the young people that seemed so different.
15 years on, the name seems an even better fit. The twenty or so young people who come every Tuesday have the complete run of the entire ‘BaSement’ space at our centre, a floor filled with a mini sports pitch, table tennis, table football, computers, interactive whiteboards and a professional recording studio.
It is as much fun as it sounds but all of these are just part and parcel of the learning that takes place here.
Most importantly, The BaSe is exactly what its names suggests when it comes to providing a solid and safe foundation for young people to begin to come to terms with the challenge that HIV presents in their lives.
For many, this is where they will reach the point on the journey of disclosure where they will understand about HIV for the first time. The BaSe remains the only place anywhere where young people aged 10-12, who are affected by HIV can meet, whether or not they know about HIV yet, and for their families to know that every aspect of their needs will be thought through.
The BaSe is a truly unique place. The 4 hours spent together every week provide an experience that continues to build young people’s resilience. The team is made up of teachers, volunteers and members of Teen Spirit who are fantastic mentors. This isn’t just another youth club though. The BaSe provides an
experience built around both understanding what engages young people effectively and providing an experience that answers the difficult questions these children face now and in the future. The BaSe puts all the necessary pieces in place to allow young people to achieve and reach their full potential.
If your child is living with HIV or affected through a family member – even if they do not know how HIV affects them - and you would like them to attend the BaSe group, contact Anya at Body & Soul on 0207 923 6880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org