Indulging in a little reflection and looking back on our blog this time last year, we have come a very long way and the path is coming ever clearer!

We started the year reporting back on our developing contacts with care providers and these have been quite fundamental to our progress. We have spent a busy year piloting training with Coverage Care Residential Care Providers, the Community Health Trust End of Life staff, Robert Jones Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital,  Shropshire Partners in Care and more recently, newly qualified GPs. And we have our eye on the ball in terms of domiciliary care providers, other help at home services, befriending schemes,  and more – including the legal sector! All this whilst making friends and keeping in touch with organisations like AgeUK, the Dementia Action Alliance and the Alzheimers Society.

Of course, we also had quite a year as far as awards went! First off,in May,  two of our Action Group Members were nominated for the Shrewsbury Town Mayor’s Award and came away with bronze awards for their services to the town – primarily around LGBT work. We then heard that SAND had won the National AgeUK Spirit of Age Award in the Equality & Diversity Category and, as if that wasn’t enough, then one of our action group had go to the finals in the Life Changer category of the Just Giving Awards. Quite a remarkable year!

All of this has stood us in very good stead and, if you have been reading our most recent blogs, you will be privy to the news of 2 grants that we have recently secured – and so 2 projects in the offing:

PROJECT 1: Grains of SAND – funded by Big Lottery Awards for All, is about connecting with LGBT people across Shropshire Telford & Wrekin. Whilst SAND is primarily working with people over the age of 60, we really want to engage younger people too, so do look out for the publicity about this project. It is very early days but it currently looks like this will be focusing particularly on connecting with people in and around Oswestry, Telford & Ludlow.

PROJECT 2: Business Planning – part-funded by Comic Relief Core Strengths, is providing essential capacity for SAND to develop a business plan which, ultimately will lead to investment in the development of an online resource which should be of benefit both to service providers and LGBT people accessing health & social care. That’s a bit complicated at the moment because it is a 2 stage process (at least) and we’re only at the very beginning. We are hoping to be able to confirm the rest of the funding very soon.

A big thank you also to all of our Well-Wishers who, collectively, contribute enough for us to cover our monthly outgoings (not counting rent) which is so, so important. Literally every pound helps and we have contributions anywhere from £2 per month to £25 per month so, if you can add to that please do – have a look at our How You Can Help page.

The SAND Office is now firmly established, although we have not been in a position to have regular opening times in 2017 but really hope to address this in 2018, from February onwards when we anticipate being able to commit to one day a week, so watch this space. Of course, the office has not been idle – it just hasn’t been open for drop-in. We hold all our monthly SAND meetings there and invite our partners – and potential partners – to meet us there.

And of course coming up is February – which means LGBT History Month. The website is up and running: Shrewsbury LGBT History with a whole host of events throughout the month and the programme arrived in the post this week – download your own copy here: 2018-History-Month_Programme_FINAL

We’ll see you there!

The annual social media count:

Mailchimp Newsletter  62 (Jan 2017 13 [because we re-jigged and started again] Jan 2016 60; Jan 2015 57; Jan 2014 34)

Twitter 254 (Jan 2017 213; Jan 2016 182; Jan 2015 – 126; Feb 2014 – 22)

Facebook 246  (Jan 2017 227; Jan 2016 176; Jan 2015 – 129; Feb 2014 – 76)

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