In our early days we gathered together every publication we could find to start our research into the issues impacting on older LGBT people accessing care services. It is no surprise to keep tripping over more and we are keeping them safe in our publications gallery. We were fortunate enough to get a bit of money from Severnside Housing to pay for our own report where we identified some of the key recurrent themes that were jumping out at us. These provide our starting point:
As time goes by we realise the increasing complexity of what we are trying to do and we know that we can’t do it all. We held some ‘visioning’ conversations for members of the action group and identified 3 priorities for SAND:
- Empowering older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans (LGBT) people: identifying issues impacting on them in care settings, ensuring access to information, supporting them to ‘come out’, outreach to isolated older LGBT people
- Targeting organisations (working together / empowering others): developing an approach to help care staff to ‘get that there is something to get’! Advise on good practice, hold organisations to account
- Influence: to embed good working practice, encourage appropriate service provision, to be advocates, to gather information, research and statistics
… and we have started work on each of these. We have started piloting a questionnaire with care home managers and housing support managers; we are talking to various people about doing presentations on SAND issues to different forums and groups: solicitors, advice & information agencies, bereavement organisations.
We are putting together funding proposals – the vast majority of what we do at the moment is gifted by enthusiastic dedicated individuals.
We are gradually reaching beyond the action group to involve others – there is a lot of interest out there and people genuinely want to help so our challenge is to find ways to involve others which make best use of their skills and which tickle their fancy. This might be about representing SAND on a particular forum, taking leaflets to events, putting posters up in public spaces, planning fundraising events.
We wanted a bit of profile so, in addition to the website, we have also produced publicity material to take to all sorts of events: flyers and posters; a facebook page; a mailing list and we are about to open a twitter account – the idea is to keep things buzzing!