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HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust has today launched a pop up, dual purpose charity shop and gay men’s health service in Walkers Court, right in the heart of Soho.
By day, Boutique Soho will operate as a retail space, selling designer and vintage clothes and accessories, art, books, and household items. It will also host special events, including makeup demonstrations by MAC Cosmetics. All money raised through sales will be used by Terrence Higgins Trust to support people living with and affected by HIV.
In the evenings, the venue will be transformed into a base for the charity’s HIV prevention work; their service, aimed at gay men visiting Soho, will offer information and support on HIV and sexual health, free condoms and postal HIV tests, and advice around use of drugs and alcohol.
The space has been donated to Terrence Higgins Trust by supporter Fawn James, Director of Soho Estates, which is set to redevelop that corner of Soho following the closure of Escape and Madame Jojo’s.
The venue will be open throughout December and January.
Gay and bisexual men remain one of the groups most disproportionately affected by HIV in the UK. Recent figures from Public Health England report that, in 2013, one in eight men who have sex with men in London was living with the virus.
Cary James, Head of Health Improvement at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘Our charity has worked in Soho for many years, but this will mark the first time we’ve had a base in the area. We’ll be making the most of this opportunity to ensure gay men visiting Soho in the Christmas party season can access everything they need to stay safe, whether that’s condoms, an HIV test, or friendly, non-judgmental advice. And when we’re not doing that, our Fundraising team will be helping to fund our work by selling amazing treasures through the shop.’
Boutique Soho is at 10 Walkers Court, London W1F 0BZ. Shop opening hours are from 10am – 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am – 5pm Sunday; sexual health service opening hours are yet to be finalised – although the charity promises they’ll stay open as late as they can to cope with demand.
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