Gareth Thomas on stage with Ian Green at People's Postcode Lottery Charity Gala getting Postcode Hero award
Gareth Thomas on stage during 2022's charity gala

Welsh rugby star and HIV campaigner Gareth Thomas was named Postcode Hero at the annual People’s Postcode Lottery charity gala in summer 2022.

The award recognised Gareth’s incredible work to tackle HIV stigma and was accompanied by an amazing £250,000 to ensure we can continue our life-changing work. Previous winners include George and Amal Clooney, Sir David Attenborough, human rights activist Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, and footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford.

The funds were raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and awarded by the Postcode Innovation Trust. Its mission is to support charities and social enterprises to deliver impactful, innovative, and engaging initiatives across the UK. People’s Postcode Lottery particularly focus on initiatives that support marginalised communities, improve mental health and reduce poverty – our work aligns with this mission. The funds help to ensure our continued support for people living with and affected by HIV and to challenge the stubborn stigma still surrounding the virus.

The generous support of the People’s Postcode Lottery comes at an exciting time as we work towards ending new cases of HIV by 2030, transforming public perceptions of the virus, and improving the nation’s sexual health. This funding supports five of our key projects: our helpline THT Direct, Hardship Fund, counselling and psychotherapy services, volunteer services and Positive Voices, our team of volunteers who deliver informative talks to organisations and audiences about their personal experiences of living with HIV.

THT Direct


The money from the Postcode Innovation Trust has helped fund our national free-to-call helpline to support those living with and affected by HIV. THT Direct is a vital lifeline for many vulnerable people – living with or worried about HIV, or who have a friend or loved one who is living with the virus.

THT Direct provides emotional support and essential information about HIV and sexual health, especially for those living in isolated parts of the UK. It helps around 270 people every week and receives approximately 14,000 inquiries each year. People’s Postcode Lottery’s generous support means we can continue running the only comprehensive HIV and sexual health helpline in the UK.

Counselling and psychotherapy services


Our counselling and psychotherapy services are the longest-standing services in our 40 year history. Thanks to the support of the Postcode Innovation Trust, we can continue to help those with poor sexual and mental health and as well as those at risk of contracting HIV. This includes people who are LGBTQI, racially minoritised communities, those experiencing difficulties around substance misuse and younger adults.

Our councillors offer over 24 sessions to each service user in order to help them deal with long-term underlying issues and enable them to achieve positive changes. We also support service users to access after-care services such as online communities, psychoeducational learning, support groups and access to wider advice and guidance including around benefits.

Volunteer programme


We have approximately 450 volunteers based across our offices in the UK, fulfilling a variety of roles from counselling to public speaking. Our volunteers are the heart of Terrence Higgins Trust – we couldn’t do the work we do without their tireless efforts. The funds from Postcode Innovation Trust have allowed us to recruit additional volunteers and develop the skills of existing ones.  

Additionally, the money has helped develop our volunteer training, which has already moved online in England, to be UK-wide, as well as an online training course for volunteer managers across the organisation.

Positive Voices


The Positive Voices programme is a unique approach to tackling HIV related stigma and increasing knowledge around the virus. Our Positive Voices speakers’ personal stories highlight the stigma, prejudice and discrimination faced by people living with HIV in an engaging and thought-provoking way, through their own lived experiences.

Talks are now delivered online, as well as face-to-face, which means that appropriate speakers can be matched with audiences where their stories will be most motivating and engaging. This also means we have been able to recruit volunteers from across the UK, ensuring that we more accurately represent the diverse demographic of people living with HIV in the UK.

We are using the money from Postcode Innovation Trust to aid our recruitment of speakers from communities who are currently underrepresented (especially heterosexual Black people of African heritage and other racially minoritised communities).

Hardship Fund


Our Hardship Fund aims to alleviate financial poverty by providing small grants of £100 to £125 to people living with HIV over the age of 18 in the UK.  

It has empowered individuals to provide for themselves with life’s essentials during difficult periods, many of whom are living on extremely restricted budgets and unable to cover everyday costs. This inevitably causes stress, which has a negative impact on their physical and mental health and can have consequences on their management of HIV.

The majority of requests are for help with the costs of basic living expenses such as food, clothing and travel but we also help individuals who have lost their jobs, those needing help while changing accommodation, or those looking for a supporting contribution towards the cost of white goods such as fridge to store medication. The Hardship Fund is a vital lifeline – 84% of all applicants are either on benefits or have no income. The support of the Postcode Innovation Trust means that we can award more grants to those in financial poverty – this is especially important as we continue to face the cost of living crisis.