Grains of SAND

This 12 month project (Jan – Dec 2018) was all about  making connections with older and old LGBT people across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin.

We chose to have a particular focus on Telford, Ludlow and Oswestry as SAND already has good connections in Shrewsbury and we wanted to ensure a more representational project.

The idea was to engage more LGBT people in what SAND is doing, whilst collecting their own stories of health and social care experiences, hopes and fears. These stories would be collected and some recorded in various ways to help SAND to influence health & social care providers to work in ways which are more inclusive of LGBT lives and experiences.

Every time we talk to care providers about the experiences of LGBT+ people we can see that it’s the personal stories that really make them sit up and listen. This means it’s more likely that they will be willing to think about how they can provide services in a way that is inclusive and meets our needs.

We want them to hear local LGBT stories that:

  • Illustrate the kinds of lives that LGBT people have led and how this might impact on willingness to access future health and social care services (whether at home, in a care home, in hospital, hospice or via our GP)
  • Outline experiences of health and social care – whether positive or negative
  • Illustrate that, in spite of many positive gains for LGBT people, there is still a good deal of prejudice and discrimination out there
  • Reveal the impact that this has on physical and mental health and well-being
  • Illustrate the whole spectrum of LGBT+ lives and experiences

As part of the Grains of SAND project we have:

  • Designed publicity for the project and distributed this across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin
  • Reached out to the 3 areas to make some initial contacts
  • Met with contacts in Ludlow and taken a stall to Ludlow Pride where we met lots of LGBT people – some of whom seized the opportunity to volunteer to speak to us in more depth.
  • Attended Dementia Action Alliance meetings in Ludlow and met with the Alzheimer’s Society
  • Attended 3 Telford LGBT gatherings and spoken about SAND
  • Met with the Mayor of Oswestry who recently came out as lesbian
  • Met with film makers to plan how to capture stories in creative ways
  • Run a workshop, hosted by Jane Traies, on ‘issues to consider when interviewing older and old LGBT people’
  • Facilitated a follow-up session for people interested in carrying out interviews at Snailbeach Village Hall
  • Volunteers engaged with the project have attended Adult Safeguarding training provided by SPIC
  • Attended Oswestry Diversity Day where we had a stall
  • Held a stall at Telford’s Celebrating Age Launch
  • Hosted the play The Purple List: a gay dementia venture in Shrewsbury on 15th September 2018
  • Hosted a screening of Gen Silent in Oswestry
  • Took part in a panel discussion at Shropshire’s Rainbow Film Festival

In 2018, as part of this project, we have connected with 707 people and 16 additional people have now started to work with SAND.

It’s not over, we will continue this project. Get in touch if you’d like to take part, you may be surprised how much you can contribute.