Happy Anniversay Sahir House!
January 18th is the 30th anniversary of Sahir House! With this mind we thought you might like to take a walk through the archives with us. This post looks at the early days from 1985-1995.
Historically, the local and national response to the HIV epidemic lagged behind the passionate work of dedicated individuals who tended the sick, challenged prejudices around HIV, educated their communities, and fought for resources and research.
A grass roots movement in Merseyside led to the formation of MASG (Merseyside AIDS Support Group), which opened its doors at Rodney Street in central Liverpool, on 18 January 1985. Initially a telephone support line, the organisation grew to include a range of services such as the Buddies scheme.
In 1987 MBP (Mersey Body Positive) was established, a community based voluntary self-help organization, MBP provided support, advocacy, peer counselling, and access to financial assistance for people with HIV and AIDS. ACASIA (AIDS care and support in action), based in Birkenhead worked closely with MPA, the main input was counselling services.
MBP Operated out of ‘The Living Room’, a small room in the Maryland Centre, where the Needle Exchange (established 1986) was based.
The main difference between MASG and MBP was that whereas MASG offered support and services to HIV positive men and women, their friends, lovers and relatives, the services of MBP were purely for those living with HIV.
The committee minutes, annual reports and newsletters of the two organisations demonstrate the extraordinary range of services available, including, alternative healing, vitamins and dietary advice, meditation, treatment issues, complementary therapies, reports on drug trials, advice about living safely with pets, poems, art, personal stories, funding and allowances, safe sex, pregnancy and HIV, AIDS prevention, fund-raising, bereavement counselling, multicultural HIV support and information, and women’s groups.
Nearly a decade later MASG and MBP decided to amalgamate to form a new organisation which allowed the services of the two organisations to come together under one roof and complement each other.
On 19th May 1995 a ‘Moving Ball’ held at the Castle Court Club, celebrated MASG and MBP moving to new premises, which were named Sahir House. Sahir is an Arabic word and was chosen because it means ‘positive’. Other suggestions were Palladium House, Tetian House and Synergy House. August 5th 1995 saw the official launch of Sahir House, which was known as ‘The home of MASG and MBP’.