Following the announcement of the Birmingham AIDS & HIV Memorial (BAHM) last year, the project is now in search for businesses and individuals across the region to help raise funds for the completion of the memorial.
Launching later this year, the initiative will see a six-metre-high sculpture, that features two heart-shaped ribbons, erected in the heart of the Southside District. Hoping to unveil the brand-new memorial in December 2022, the three founders, Andrew King, Garry Jones and Phil Oldershaw, are asking companies and individuals alike to support the cause and be part of the legacy.
The team behind the project have launched a memorial page on the website, where members of the community can send messages of support, or remembrance, as they donate funds to help complete the memorial. With the help and generosity of those across Birmingham and beyond, the founders hope that they can reach their target of £218,000.
Co-founder of the initiative, Phil Oldershaw, commented: “We’re asking for businesses and individuals to dig deep and take pride in helping to fund a significant and worthy landmark that will stand the test of time. All generous donors will be acknowledged and it’s a brilliant heartfelt project to be associated with. Imagine knowing, or telling people, you helped make this worldwide recognised memorial happen.”
Working closely with the LGBTQIA+ community, the team has been coordinating community activity in order to raise money and has already seen support from the likes of The Nightingale Club, The Loft, Missing, Village, The Fox, LGBT Centre, and also Birmingham Pride.
Co-founder of BAHM, Garry Jones, said: “We have been working hard on many initiatives to be released in the coming months and fundraising events are taking place across the community to reach our £218,000 target. We are already in talks with some great companies and organisations who are keen to support, and we hope that more companies in the region can pledge their support in the coming months.”
The memorial itself, which was granted planning permission Sept 2021, will be part of the newly developed Hippodrome Square. Fabricated by local known talented sculptor Luke Perry, it will be made of weathering steel, with heart-shaped red ribbons representing two figures entwined, as if embracing and supporting each other.
The ribbons represent the dual entities of HIV and AIDS: the past and the future and symbolises remembrance of those we have lost to AIDS, whilst simultaneously celebrating those who are now able to live with HIV today. The monument will also serve as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to educate; helping end both stigma and discrimination.
West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, one of the Ambassadors championing the project, said: “It is wonderful to see this permanent memorial and ambitious plan being brought to life. The memorial will be a fitting tribute to those who have lost their lives to AIDS and HIV, as well as a reminder to us all that the often-silent battles against this virus continues for many.”