About Herts Aid
Launched on World Aids Day 1992, Herts Aid is a registered HIV and sexual health charity.
Herts Aid strives for, and is committed to, promoting an inclusive society where HIV and sexual health is understood and accepted without prejudice or stigma.
Herts Aid’s aim is to improve the sexual health of the Hertfordshire population working in partnership with statutory and non-statutory partners. Herts Aid’s core values, vision and mission form the basis of all service delivery.
Herts Aid is a user led organisation dedicated to delivering emotional and practical support, clinical services and educational projects, in Hertfordshire.
Our Core Values
From one of the founders of Herts Aid, George Topping.
We decided to sell everything and buy a houseboat. A few months later we arrived in Hertford after obtaining a residential mooring at Hertford Lock for our houseboat.
Bill became ill and it was urgent that we obtain services. As we were new to the area, no GP would see us and social services did not seem very sympathetic to our situation.
In fact, one social worker argued that as our HIV was contracted by our sexual preference, we deserved it, in contrast to others who were terminally ill with other things and therefore innocent victims.
Following this bombardment of discrimination which left us both feeling bereft, I decided to fight this unfairness by attending public meetings and saying the unsayable.
I was fuelled by anger and determined to challenge stigma and misconceptions.
That was really the beginnings of The East Herts HIV and AIDS Support Group which was the forerunner of Herts Aid.
At the meetings run by an evangelical university group and Hertfordshire Social Services, I was given a platform to challenge discriminatory practice by being armed with the facts to dispel the myths.
Bill recovered from his health crisis and joined me in my work to challenge stigma and educate people. Thus, a revolution of education and support evolved in Hertfordshire through the work of Herts Aid.
At that same time in Hertfordshire, there were other voices offering support for those living with HIV but their ideology was one of dependence and powerlessness rather than the philosophy developed in Herts Aid of independence and empowerment.
Establishing Herts Aid
It was not an easy journey. We both went from despair to repair; from despond to respond. We embarked on a series of roadshows and exhibitions, taking HIV out of the drop in centres and into the villages. There was nowhere left to hide from the fact that HIV affected everybody.
Thus, from the very beginning this bottom up approach of those who were marginalised and “othered “challenged existing frameworks which resulted in Herts Aid being at the forefront of care and education.
Herts Aid is carrying on this tradition of which I am very proud.
Trustee Board Members
Our Trustees provide leadership to the charity, making sure all work streams and projects are in line with Herts Aid Vision, Mission and Core Values.
They all have an endless supply of energy and a great depth of knowledge that they invest into the charity, benefiting us enormously.
Chair of Trustees
Executive Director & Staff
Working alongside the Trustees, guiding Herts Aid in its day to day functions is Executive Director Suzanne Bannister.
As Executive Director, Suzanne heads up a team of fantastic people who are committed and dedicated to the provision of excellent services to internal and external stakeholders and Service Users.
The Honorable Martha Lytton Cobbold
Pam St. Clement