The service originally developed out of the unique Health Shop, a drop in service providing sexual health and harm reduction information to anyone having sex or using injectable drugs. This was very much at a time when forward thinking NHS providers were looking at ways of dealing with the rise in HIV and AIDS. What started as one outreach worker developed into a service within it’s own rights.
The GAi Project was launched in 1994 by none other than Sir Ian McKellen at the Broadway Cinema. As with the cinema the project has gone through many changes over the years, both in terms of its staff and the range of services it provides.
What’s in a name!! Many people wonder what GAi stands for;
well originally it stood for Gay and Bisexual Men’s AIDS Initiative.
Currently there are discussions taking place to see if it is time for a change. What do you think ?
Originally the staff consisted of one full time and one part time worker. Since then the team now consists of one manager and two project workers and a team of sessional workers.
To date the project has seen 3 managers and 4 project workers come and go.
Originally the focus was on outreach in both commercial settings and in public sex environments, in addition to a condom distribution scheme. The service has always set out to be a part of the community and sex affirmative. We have strived to validate gay lifestyle choices recognising that gay men and men who have sex with men are not a homogenous group. The most important aspect is the belief that gay men’s health is about more than sex. As such the service engages with men through a holistic approach to sexual health and well-being.
Over the years the project developed a wide range of interventions to offer the greatest choice for an individual. We continue to look at different ways in which to engage with men in relation to their sexuality. The launch for the website, despite being a long time coming is just one of these. There are a number of new initiatives, which we will be piloting over the coming 12 months.
- Research into homophobic bullying presenting the findings at the Lesbian and Gay national psychology conference
- WAD events
- Homophobic and hate crime campaigns
- PSE work
- Rent boy drop-in
- Contributing to the Radio 1 website
- Developing a drugs awareness resource sponsored by Gelxo Welcome
- Setting up a the LGBT forum
- Contributing to the setting up of what has now become Nottingham Pride
- Setting up of Breakout
- Running the weekly Married Men’s group
- Running a 5 week ‘Coming out’ course
- Condom distribution
- Scene outreach
- Events –History Month/WAD/Pride
- The Older Men’s group
- Telephone support
- One to one support
- Training for other organisations
- Workshops for LGB groups
Links – Community
Local bars and club
Reflections Health Club
Ball Bois FC
Links – Professional
Asylum seekers forum
Youth services/Child exploitation
Sexual health forum
Nottingham City Advisory group
Outburst steering group
Chill Out Sound support
Hep B leaflet