PEOPLE living with HIV can escape the stresses of their condition thanks to Tesco funding.

Slough charity Thames Valley Positive Support received £1,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help fund to help create welcoming gardens where anyone frightened, anxious or nervous about their situation can rest or discuss matters with like-minded people.

As well as the gardens, the charity provides testing, counselling, advocacy, peer support, a drop-in service twice a week and a cooked meal.

Sarah Macadam, the charity’s CEO, said: “We’re really grateful to Tesco for this funding. Our service-users are often vulnerable, isolated people, and they will greatly appreciate a relaxed garden environment where they can meet other people living with HIV and learn from each other’s experiences, make new friends and speak with our support workers about their concerns.

“The gardens had suffered from many years of neglect, but we could see the great potential there. They will be our showpiece, where we will be able to welcome visitors, many of whom are apprehensive about coming for a test or counselling.

“Equally, they will be able to spend a couple of hours in contemplation, away from the inevitable stress and worry brought about by their condition, in a haven of peace.”

Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme invites customers to vote in store for their preferred local project from a choice of three, using the blue token given to them at the checkout. Projects are local to each store and change every three months, with grants of up to £2,000 currently available.

Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme has so far donated £82million to fund more than 27,000 projects across the UK. It is run in partnership with the charity Groundwork.