About Lois Pollock
Lois Pollock is an experienced and now retired social worker who specialized for over 30 years in HIV/AIDS, palliative care and frail aged care.
Between 1988 and 1995, I held three social work positions - in Greenwich (generic & child protection work); Royal Borough Kensington & Chelsea (specialist HIV/AIDS worker) and finally in the London Borough of Newham, where I was appointed as a specialist social worker for the African community affected by HIV/AIDS.
In those latter positions I gained a deal of experience working with people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, at a time of ignorance and stigma in the wider community. I was one of a group offering alternative funeral services to the gay community when some religious institutions refused to perform services following AIDS deaths.
While working in Newham I took my first visit to Uganda. I learned the issues facing elderly grandparents who care for young children, left behind by desperate parents who had fled to the UK. Since 1995 I've made regular visits to Uganda, facilitating projects in rural and urban communities.
In 1995 I needed a break from direct HIV/AIDS work, not least because numbers of close friends had died.
Appointed as one of a team of Senior Practitioner Social Workers at St.Christopher’s Hospice, London, for the next five years, I carried an individual caseload, ran bereavement support groups with colleagues, offered training programs internally and to the wider community and continued facilitating residential therapeutic workshops for professionals working with the dying or those with life threatening illnesses in the UK, Spain and Romania.
Resigning from the hospice at the beginning of 2000 I spent the next 18 months working as a freelance consultant to a palliative hospice in Mallorca, Spain and pursued my psychotherapy practice before returning to Australia where I had been born.
Between 2002 - 2011, I worked as a social worker and then manager of a social work/community worker team at Jewish Care, Sydney. The majority of the clients were frail, aged Holocaust survivors. There I gained new skills and experiences - particularly in the area of dementia - and was able to build on previous experience of working with clients suffering past trauma. Amongst a variety of duties, I facilitated a weekly art group for people living with moderate to advanced dementia. (You can see some of the examples of the wonderful creative art produced here).
Retiring in 2011, I returned permanently to live in London.
It is from here that I now fundraise to continue my work in Uganda. That's now mainly focused on community savings groups; teaching small business start up / entrepreneurship; and offering both Memory Book and Life Story book trainings to community groups and in secondary schools.
With other trustees of Education & Health Trust Uganda, we hope to promote the work of specific established community projects, and raise funds to support ongoing education for disadvantaged young men and women.
Over the years and repeated trips to Uganda I have written various diaries and stories to record my experiences. You can read some of these here. And for some years I wrote a blog that is still available here.