Join the campaign to EMBRACE A Culture of Inclusion
Making health & social care in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin more aware, safe, inclusive and friendly.
SAND’s vision is of a future where older and old lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are fully integrated into and accepted by the whole community where their experiences are valued, where their needs are met and where they can access the most appropriate and personalised care for them as and when they require it.
What EMBRACE is
EMBRACE is an ambitious and exciting idea in the making – it is about health & social care services in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin becoming more aware, safe, inclusive and friendly. In 2019, SAND received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to develop this project which includes:
- Developing an e-learning resource: some form of online portal of LGBT inclusive resources
- An accessible “Directory” of LGBT+ aware service providers, so that older and old LGBT people and those supporting them can make informed choices about accessing support and services.
- Taking forward training and support for champions – individuals within a range of organisations who will become LGBT advocates and champions.
- Continuing the Grains of Sand project which collects and records LGBT+ people’s experiences, hopes and fears as they age – and then using these powerful narratives in work with policy makers, commissioners, providers and our work with LGBT people.
- Market place events for LGBT people to meet ‘LGBT’ friendly providers who support healthy ageing and healthy lifestyles. These events are open to a wide range of providers who want to reach the LGBT community for example solicitors with experience of drawing up Power of Attorney documents for LGBT couples.
- Bespoke training and consultancy services for health and social care providers to improve the knowledge and understanding of LGBT rights and experiences. The awareness training helps staff to understand more about the emotional, mental and physical implications of discrimination and exclusion. It supports staff to increase their commitment to improved practice and gives them tools and techniques to help them identify and address instances of discrimination amongst colleagues, between staff and service users and between service users and friends of family and between service users. The training also makes staff more aware of how to address needs as part of care assessments and plan and how to introduce sensitive or difficult conversations with LGBT clients using their increased awareness of LGBT lives.
“If you improve the air in one corner, it is going to help everybody to breathe better”
[Farrah Serroukh on Front Row, 18/07/18].
Why anyone should engage with EMBRACE
All of the examples below are real stories reported to SAND. We have anonymised them. Our ambition is to prevent occurrences like these:
‘Maggie’ is 90 years old and identifies as lesbian. She anticipates the need to access residential or domiciliary care soon and the very thought makes her fearful. When asked about this, she says that she is terrified that she would not be able to be herself with a carer, that she would not be able to talk freely and would feel vulnerable.
‘Saffi‘ is a lesbian currently living in a residential home. Saffi’s partner, Val , visits regularly and is terrified of any one discovering the nature of their relationship. Val is particularly fearful of that Saffi would be discriminated against when she is not there to hear or to protect her. On a daily basis Val feels that she is leaving Saffi increasingly vulnerable.
‘Eduard’ is a gay man who is receiving domiciliary care following a hospital admittance. Not long after leaving hospital, Eduard experienced a homophobic incident in his own home by his care providers. He was extremely upset, angry and bewildered. He wants to express this and find out why it happened and believe that it won’t happen again but he does not feel confident that anyone will understand and feels it is too difficult to explain.
‘Taz’ is a trans woman whose privacy was violated by a GP who shared her personal history without her knowledge. Once Taz discovered this she tried to raise the issue and was then blocked from complaining and denied her rights. This experience confirmed her belief that “no one cares about people like us. I am a nobody”.
‘Jay’ is a gay man who was visiting his partner in hospital where he was confronted angrily by a nurse who had discovered their relationship. Her outburst left Jay worried about leaving his partner in this environment. Jay had no idea how to raise this issue, who to talk to or what to say – and no belief that anyone would take his concerns seriously, or even listen to him.
‘Sam’ is a lesbian who had cause to visit the hospital outpatients department. The receptionist took Sam’s details and while asking for next of kin, made an assumption that Sam’s partner was male. This immediately caused Sam anxiety as she felt she had to make a choice to come out or not. She was in a public space, feared being overheard and generally felt very uncomfortable.
How YOU can engage with EMBRACE
- Volunteer as a befriender to support LGBT+ people
- Be a workplace Champion of EMBRACE
- Commission an awareness training session
- Be part of a smaller working group looking at sector specific issues around how to be more inclusive e.g. residential care, domiciliary care, housing, advice, befriending, financial issues, legal issues etc
- Work with SAND to co-brand your organisational materials
- Sponsor events to promote and celebrate EMBRACE
- Volunteer as an advocate for LGBT+ people
- Come along to an LGBT discussion group – which may be linked to reading a book, listening to music, or LGBT+ History
- Represent SAND at events
- Run a SAND stall at events
- Share your own LGBT+ experience/s – personal or professional