Outdoor Positive: a walking group for eveyone affected by HIV.

Outdoor Positive.

The idea for Outdoor Positive, a group for anybody affected by HIV first came about when David, one of the main organisers of the group, got talking to a nurse at the Sussex Beacon.

“The conversation got round to the benefits of outdoor walks. I spoke about my time as a youth in the scout movement with many activities involving getting out into the countryside and the enjoyment I got from such activities.”

            David: Outdoor Positive.

Other people said how they didn’t really identify with the pub/ club scene so much and found the only time they connected with other HIV positive people was either through visits to the Sussex Beacon or the Lawson unit clinic. From this initial conversation a group was put together with the simple ethos meeting up away from the bars and clubs and to take a walk around the countryside of East Sussex. Word quickly got round of the new group and its first walk last year in March taking in the sights of Stanmer Park and the surrounding area. The team behind Lunch Positive were on hand to provide the refreshments with around thirty people turning up on the day. The feedback was extremely positive with many people saying how nice it was to get out and see parts of countryside that they had wanted to explore but would never have done so on their own. Since then Outdoor Positive have explored many different parts of East Sussex’s country side, with all the starting and finishing points accessible via public transport.

 “From the beginning it has been important that everyone who wants to come to the group could get there with ease. Although some people made their way via their own transport we found that by planning our walks around public transport this worked best for the majority. There is also the consideration of peoples varying abilities and health and lifestyle to be taken into consideration, that is why we have some walks during the week and some over the weekend. People can look on our website: www.outdoorpositive.org and at a glance see what type of walk is on offer that week/weekend, we do try and vary the types of walks with some being accessible/short walks, which could be a gentle walk Brighton Marina to Rottingdean, an intermediate walk taking in the views of Devil’s Dyke via the open top bus, to the longer/steeper walks, for example we hope to have one such walk around the Jack and Jill Windmills in Early September.”

David: Outdoor Positive

 The walks have also shown a real need for a social group like this in Brighton, so much so that the team behind Outdoor Positive are now looking at alternative events over the summer. Most recently outdoor Positive had a whole day out in the town of Lewes, taking in Lewes Castle, Anne of Cleaves House, Grange Gardens, nature reserve and of course the habitual  Cream Tea. One of Outdoor Positive members has suggested a day out cycling along East Sussex Cookoo Trail, along the old disused railway line, so it is hoped that a trip for this event will be organized soon.

Peter, a member of Outdoor Positive took a few members out on a fishing trip, which turned out to be a lot of fun with participants catching something fresh for their tea. Peter hopes to run more of these trips, and is also planning a boat fishing trip. Other activities in the pipeline include a fun treasure hunt later this year and an organised overnight camp pencilled in for next year if there are enough people interested. Last year Outdoor positive organised a successful group outing along the seafront to watch the Brighton Veteran Car Rally, and the Winter Solstice event of Burning of the Clocks, which they hope to repeat this year for those who can’t manage the walks but like the social element the group has to offer.  

We are always keen to hear from our members and would like to share a favorite walk or event they would like to partake in. As a team we are more than happy to help facilitate in a project that would help others get out and socialise with other people in the same situation as them.”

David: Outdoor Positive.

With summer in full swing, give or take the odd rainy day, Outdoor Positive is an ideal opportunity for everyone affected by HIV to get together and see some of the great locations East Sussex has to offer. Outdoor Positive welcomes everyone affected by HIV regardless of age or sexual orientation. Families are more than welcome as their dogs. However it is advised to check that the walk is dog friendly. Partially during lambing season when it is perhaps best to leave the family dog at home. Outdoor Positive request a nominal fee of £1.00 to help towards their running costs of the group, but this is purely on a voluntary bases.

For more information on when the next walk is taking place please visit their website www.outdoorpositive.org. Due to the nature of the events taking place outdoors it is also advisable to check the website the day before the event to ensure it is taking place.


Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Health, HIV/AIDS, Leisure, LGBT, Zhoosh Leave a comment

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