Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

We Don't Give Money to the 'Sexy' Causes; ME AND MY CHARITY

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

We Don't Give Money to the 'Sexy' Causes; ME AND MY CHARITY

Article excerpt

Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, explains why she and husband Gordon support a charity for young HIV and Aids sufferers HOW does a young kid deal with having HIV and Aids, taking a cocktail of drugs a day and not wanting anybody at school to know? It's a dilemma. Body and Soul is a UK charity which works with more than 1,400 adults, 300 teenagers, and 600 kids under the age of 12 in London. What it does, uniquely, is support children, teenagers and women - and heterosexual men - and their families who are living with HIV and Aids.

The charity also has an adult centre, a children's youth centre which allows for a more holistic approach to those who access the services, both young and old.

There are therapists and counsellors and the emphasis is on self worth and self esteem.

Many of the doctors from Great Ormond Street have said that their medical work is helped by what Body and Soul does.

A typical reaction is the one I saw at a gathering at 10 Downing Street in November, when Mrs Blair invited about 40 people from the charity. For the kids, it gave them an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation.

It is a relief to them knowing they're not alone with HIV and Aids. They can chat to other kids about how they deal with it.

The problem is lack of money.

All the cash goes to gay males with HIV and Aids. That's not to say it's wrong. But there's an incredible problem getting Body and Soul recognised financially.

When it was set up 11 years ago, we had temporary quarters at Great Ormond Street hospital but we left about a year ago. We've found a potential site.

My husband Gordon and I never give money to well-funded organisations. I don't like funding chief executives earning a quarter of a million. That's not my bag. We'd rather put our money into more marginalised groups: all of the things that people don't like funding, that aren't "sexy".

It's really sexy to look after a bunny rabbit or hug a tree but, you know, kids with Aids ...

When organisations or companies are making chequebook donations to a charity, they want to make it a nice photogenic project with pretty kids or whatever, but we've always put our money into areas that are hard to fund, whether it's child slavery or indigenous people. …

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