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A Guide to Blackliners

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Blackliners – the charity

Arnold Gordon, a journalist, together with a group of friends, launched "Blackliners Helpline" on the 26th March 1989 because of concerns that the needs of the black and minority ethnic communities were not being met in an ethno-centric and culturally sensitive manner by the existing charities at the time.

These concerns were founded on information emanating from the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) and other studies into the incidence and epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in the United Kingdom.

Researchers and practitioners became aware that many new cases after the white gay community were in the black and minority ethnic communities, particularly African and Caribbean. The most viable explanation for this was as a result of late diagnosis, stigma and political factors such as refugee and immigration legislations.

Furthermore, issues relating to social exclusion, poor housing, poor education and low income precipitated the poor response to testing campaigns and safer sex.

During the past 12 years, the organisation has grown to become the premier black-led voluntary organisation that has worked for 12 years to enhance the quality of life of BME communities affected by sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.

Blackliners provides a broad-based sexual health promotion service, with a view to empowering people from the BME communities to make informed decisions about their sexual health, social/health care and lifestyle.

In actively addressing issues around HIV/AIDS and the minority ethnic communities, Blackliners' paid staff and volunteers, provide training to community groups and schools as well as participate in seminars, conferences and workshops, in collaboration with statutory and voluntary organisations.

The monitoring data from the helpline was used as a means of needs assessment and influenced the development of other services.

Over the years, 1989 - 2002, the charity has seen major changes in the treatment of HIV, which have changed the lives of people living with the virus. There is still no cure.

Blackliners according to its recent Annual Review, state that it will continue to encourage and support black people to come out of the closet of fear and prejudice and meet the challenge of HIV/AIDS head on, by keeping them informed with the facts on the virus.

"We need to learn to live and love safely, and as a community to reach out and touch with support and understanding those black people living with and/or affected by the virus and other related sexual health needs".


Blackliners’ Aims

  • To provide for the welfare of those people of African, Asian and Caribbean communities in Britain who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS; to enable better sexual health amongst the target communities; and to promote the general health of the target population;

  • To provide education, information and advice about HIV and AIDS, sexual health and issues related to the health of Britain's black and minority ethnic communities to the general public, members of the medical and nursing professions, national, local and public authorities and in particular to members of the Asian, African and Caribbean Communities living in Britain.

Blackliners’ Core Values

Impartiality and Integrity

- Acting in a way that is right even if this may appear to bring disadvantage to Blackliners or its clients, and on no account compromising acceptable standards of probity and safety.

Openness and honesty

- Acting in a straightforward and fair manner to encourage confidence and trust.


- providing responsive and efficient services that satisfy customers.


- achieving the highest professional standards.


- being imaginative and flexible in our work with a zest to exploit opportunities.


- pulling together to realise our full potential.


- recognising individuals' needs, aspirations and achievements.


- develop relationships that add value for Blackliners and benefit wealth creation in our community.

Blackliners is the premier black-led voluntary organisation that has worked for 12 years to enhance the quality of life of black and minority ethnic (BME) people living with HIV/AIDS including other sexually transmitted diseases. Blackliners provides a broad-based sexual health promotion service, with a view to empowering people from the BME communities to make informed decisions about their sexual health/social care and lifestyle.

The range of project/services available through Blackliners include the following:

Sexuality Counselling project

Emotional Support

Food and Clothing Distribution

HIV Peer Education

Domiciliary/home care service

Generalist advice on housing welfare, benefits and immigration issues.

BME Volunteering project.

A health Advisory and Secondary Prevention Service targeted at African communities

A Health Advisory and primary Prevention Service targeted at Young Black People

A Drop-in Service based at Hammersmith.

Treatment briefings and Update (including advice)


Newsline, a quarterly newsletter.

Blackliners aims to do this by working with Britain’s black and minority ethnic communities, the general public, members of the medical professions and both local and national public authorities.

Blackliners has and continues to be the most diverse organisation in the BME HIV sector in terms of the composition of its staff and clients whose origins cover the entire spectrum of the Black Diaspora. Blackliners has a team of 20 full time, 6 part time staff; 15 sessional workers and 54 active volunteers.


Blackliners Central Office: Unit 46, Eurolink Business Centre, 49 Effra Road, London SW2 1BZ

Tel: 020 7738 7468 or 020 7738 5274: Fax. 020 7738 7945.

Email. [email protected]

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