We’re a bit late posting information arising from our March meeting but that doesn’t mean we’re not out there and on it! In fact we seem to be getting our feet in doors and standing up in front of people and talking to them a lot about SAND, which is great. To expand on that a bit:

We gave a talk to over 100 health & social care professional at a big event at the Shrewsbury Town Football Ground hosted by Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust. It was a challenging 10 minute input alongside other fascinating contributions and we were really pleased to get such a good response – lots of positive comments from people who found our presentation really interesting and thought-provoking.

Three weeks ago, we went over to Oswestry, to the Robert Jones Agnes Hunt (RJAH) Orthopaedic Hospital where we delivered a pilot training session to mid-tier staff (including ward managers). It was an affirming and exciting experience as the exercises we had devised prompted discussions and questions beyond our expectations. We even made it to twitter!

With 15 people in the room, who all gave really positive feedback, we are hopeful that the discussions will translate to practice.

Next, we delivered to staff working around End of Life (EOL) Care – including those from Shropshire Community Health Trust and Severn Hospice, who expressed the benefit of discussions on varying terminology going around in the LGBT world, and the use of scenarios – from real cases – to frame and discuss potential issues and consider how things could have been done differently.

As always, in our experience, it is all in the discussion and people really valued the opportunity to explore issues.
Having delivered the first pilot session to EOL staff, we have a further 4 in the pipeline. Meanwhile, it seems appropriate here to give a bit of publicity for Dying Matters Week 8 – 14 May 2017. As part of this the EOL team will be in The Square, Shrewsbury 12noon – 2pm on Friday 12th May.

This month, 2 SAND Action Group members (both in their 80’s) took up an invitation to visit Withywood Shire Living  for their open day. The facility for over 55’s consists of apartments which are rented, and residents are expected to be able to live independently.

Our team wore their SAND badges which gave them an opener to explain that they were particularly interested to look through LGBT eyes, and reported back as follows:

“We both felt that there was a very welcoming atmosphere. We were  impressed with the apartments of both one and two bedrooms, which were quite spacious, and are available for rent. We asked that if a same sex couple applied to rent an apartment what  would the view be. We were told that there would be no problem. We were also informed that if any discrimination by other residents took place , those making it would be asked to leave. This would also be the approach  in relation to any other “difference”, such as physical and learning differences. In the leaflet on tenancy agreement it states ” The Trust will treat same sex partners in the same way as heterosexual partners”.

The brochure also covers:

  • “Nuisance” which specifically includes offensive language or threatening behaviour (including violence towards another person). We were told that if a resident was abusive to an LGBT person , that resident would be asked to leave. This matter is also covered under “interfering with the privacy of other”.
  • “Harassment” which states that tenant, family and visitors must not harass, threaten, intimidate or cause offence to any other tenant, neighbour, employee or contractor to the Trust on any grounds (gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, transgender, marriage or civil partnership, lifestyle, ability, pregnancy or maternity.)

The brochure also states ‘we also expect you to treat your neighbours, our staff, choices staff and contractors and care staff as you would like to be treated’.

“Both staff that we spoke with had a very good awareness of the needs of LGBT community. We did however speak about the role of SAND and it might be that Withywood  staff would find a course helpful. We raised the predicted figures of older and old LGBT people in the future, who might be in need of facilities such as Withywood. We also had some discussion of the term older and old.

Our visit finished with cups of tea and delicious scones”.

And….. it is all small steps towards significant change.

Of course, it is not all work – come and join us on 29th April for some social time – we’d love to see a good crowd in a disco light! This is SAND’s first pure social – a response to specific requests. our events are open to LGBT people, our friends and allies – which is you. Early bird tickets on sale until the end of March – 70’s and 80’s music, much vinyl on the decks and a smooth groove! Click here for tickets.



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