Catching our own tails

Apologies from us flyer-picfor our lack of communication – don’t know about you, but time in the SAND camp has been cracking on and running away with us good and proper. Talking about running away, you may be interested in our new fundraising event – the great SAND Night at the Races – click here for more info: Race Night

These fundraising events are massively important to keep SAND functioning – as mentioned before, we are not the  most popular of ’causes’ for mainstream funders so we do a lot ourselves and the annual November ‘gig’ brings in about a third of our annual income – and it is FUN – so come on down and join in. It is lovely, informal, friendly, low maintenance and a good laugh – what’s not to like?

Continue reading “Catching our own tails”


Learning it and sharing it

phaseSomehow or other it really does feel as though SAND is moving into a slightly different phase. We have some research underway; some training lined up with a care home; a meeting with a domiciliary care provider and (as always) lots of ideas in an ever-stuffed pipeline!

Our meetings are – without fail – great – a diverse, committed group with loads of staying-power!

Continue reading “Learning it and sharing it”

Knocking on some influential doors whilst planning some fun

2016-07-08 19.14.16Boom – for the first time, our Well-Wisher monthly donations cover our regular monthly outgoings – thank you sooooo much. Of course since the calculation, we have taken on an office and so our monthly out-goings have increased but let’s not worry too much about that – we feel sure that more of you will be willing and able to spare £2 or £3 per month – you can see already what a difference it makes – please tell your friends and encourage them to sign up – just click this link, print off the form, fill it in and send it to SAND 160601 Well-Wisher Standing Order Form – and a BIG thank you from us!

Continue reading “Knocking on some influential doors whilst planning some fun”

What a turn out!

The new office AGM 2016Our new meeting time and venue seemed to draw the crowds as we had more SAND Action Group members turn up on Wednesday at the SAND Office than we have had for a while and how lovely it was to see everyone – and to welcome our new Treasurer, Maria (in the middle in red)! So, lots of ‘new’ things going on – and we’ll get some pictures and rainbows up in there very soon.

When we’re a bit more settled we’ll identify a slot for a tea/coffee drop-in thingy and get the word out via our New Newsletter – so make sure you are signed up to receive it – click here: Lovely Newsletter.

Meanwhile, we are delighted to report that we have a couple of new Well-Wishers so come on, don’t be shy – you too can join the merry band of folk who give £2 or £3 per month to keep the SAND castles in development! Click here for the info: Well Wishers Form.

Our 2 major bits of work at the moment are:

  1. our research funded by Healthwatch – where we are talking to health care professionals about what they know about specific issues facing trans people and how they currently provide trans appropriate healthcare.
  2. the development and delivery of training to residential and domiciliary health care providers to raise awareness of older and old LGBT people.

In the background, we are also planning some conversation with AgeUK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin about their befriending service and what their volunteers can do to support older and old LGBT people.

As the sun shines with the start of Summer, so too are we feeling a burst of bright energy. You may recall that we have started identifying little volunteering jobs so, if you want to get involved without making a mega commitment then we are the ones for you.

Volunteer jobs for June:

  1. We need someone to do a bit of a trawl to identify magazines targeting older people in Shropshire. Once we know these we can include articles/editorials about SAND to try to find more older and old LGBT people. We need a list of magazines/newsletters with contact details – importantly WHO to contact and where they are.
  2. We want to start a little library of non-fiction LGBT books. We need someone to write to publishers and ask for donations of books.

The secret is to assume that we need you – please don’t leave it for someone else if you are interested 🙂

And – we are still after some bits and pieces for the office (in bold below) so if you can donate any of these then please do:

  • A table – approx 5ft x 3ft
  • 2 wooden kitchen chairs
  • 1 office chair 
  • 3 folding chairs
  • 1 tub chair
  • 2 bookcases 
  • 1 small set of drawers (or set of small drawers!)
  • 1 colour laser-jet printer – preferably one of these 
  • 1 standard lamp
  • 1 desk lamp
  • 1 table lamp
  • 2 cushions
  • 1 two-drawer filing cabinet 
  • 1 rug 
  • a 2-drawer filing cabinet 
  • 1 coat stand
  • 1 umbrella stand

This Blog records what is happening at which point of SAND’s development.

Something for Everyone – so come on then!

CloseSaturday 7th May 2016 was all about Building Our Own Castles and SAND was delighted to host an afternoon of ideas to develop the concept of Safe Ageing No Discrimination into practical action which engages a broader audience! 20 of us spent a few hours discussing, feeling inspired and gathering ideas. Here is the upshot and we hope you see something to suit you – no matter how big or small.

Have a read through and hopefully pick a bit of something – every little contribution makes SAND bigger and more effective, which is what ‘Building Our Own Castles is all about:

LSSign up to our BRAND NEW newsletter – because SAND needs to be clear about how it benefits individuals and organisations – it would be helpful if our community, friends and allies told us their areas of specialism so we can come and ask you to help us talk in the language of the people we are trying to influence. The new newsletter sign-up form asks a few questions about your skills, knowledge and experience – we have deleted the old list so we can start afresh – please sign up here (click this link)

Volunteer to be in filmsthere are lots of great ideas about how SAND can model good practice. It’d be really helpful to have a list of people who would be happy to appear in any short films we produce in the future – for training or presentations.

CBShare your knowledge about homes in different parts of the country where there are LGBT people – there is some suspicion that places like Brighton – or big cities might have more identifiable LGBT people and SAND could talk to those homes.

Offer a bit of time to talk to specific individuals about SAND – SAND already has some links with key individuals and organisations. We have the opportunity to talk to SAND friends and allies about how the issues SAND is working on can be flagged up in their work – it would be great if we could share these contacts so a few people follow up one each.

SHRun a Crowdfunding campaign – this is to raise money – but more importantly to raise profile and give a large number of people an opportunity to engage with SAND.

Follow up SAND friends and allies once a month – SAND would benefit from a volunteer to have a look at who has funded and supported each month and make some contact with them – just a thank you or brief update (signpost to the blog), to maintain the relationship.

BH01Do a bit of research into LGBT clubs, societies, staff & Union groups in and around the County – there must be lots of LGBT people working in health & social care who could be allies and might take on SAND’s work or at least be interested. If they were known to SAND they could be invited to join the mailing list.

Do a regular bit of online searching for resources useful to SAND to add to the galleries on the website. SAND has a reputation for having a great resource bank of publications and film clips . Finding non-American resources can be a tricky business and it would be really helpful to have more eyes looking for these and putting them on the website.

Screen the film Gen Silent and invite health & social care staff – this film was the start of SAND and could motivate others.

Come and join us at SAND events and bring your friendsspreading the word and growing a network is key to SAND’s success!

Take the lead on organising regular networking events – the idea is to KHToffer a regular opportunity for individuals and organisations interested in SAND to come together. These will require some ongoing attention – a bit of budgeting and fundraising, venue booking. There is no expectation that one person would do it all and this is about making sure the basics are in place.

Research websites and or publications relating to health & social care in Shropshire and the Borders, and any other local publications with potential for links – this is about working out the ones that could/should have a link to SAND, have an advert or article in.

Ask the question: what is your track record of working with LGBT people? Anyone and everyone can make enquiries about levels of knowledge and understanding of issues impacting on older and old LGBT people, even if you are not LGBT and even if you are not specifically enquiring on behalf of an LGBT person.

PJHDesign and produce leaflets and materials – If you have an eye for design then SAND has ideas for different leaflets and training resources.

Public relations activity – that sounds a bit grand but leaflets, adverts, websites have all been mentioned and there would need to be text in these so any skills in that area are very welcome.

Website, email, twitter and the likewe are also getting ideas about having little tea-parties where a few interested folk might mull over the potential of social media!

Of course, this is not a definitive list – there is a lot of buzzy activity to be done so do feel free to keep suggesting – and don’t shy away from posting things on our Facebook page if that’s what works for you.


First thing to do is to sign up to the SAND Newsletter – click here

And …… Get in touch:

Moving on Up

lampSAND is on the move – we have taken the decision to rent an office! Now that may sound like small fry but for us it is HUGE. Moving from kitchen-table-working to applied office-work is intended to help give SAND the much needed jump that it needs to move forwards. Some of the details are still a bit sketchy right now – we have an office lined up – nicely positioned in Shrewsbury Town Centre and a date to move in; we have plans for it to be a sort of drop-in space and a bit of a hub for LGBT activity but we are not entirely sure what that means yet.

A couple of the Our_castleSAND Action Group Members are under-writing the first year with their own money to make sure it happens and there are lots of ways that you can help – no matter where you are located. We get the keys in June and we will be sharing more information at our Building Our Own Castles event on 7th May.

How you can help

We are going to need furniture to create a comfortable space and we would love it if this was all donated so everything has its own story. If you have any of these going spare, or are willing to purchase them for SAND please let us know (we’ll cross them off as they are offered). We are not worried about things matching – we just want it all to be welcoming!2016-04-02 08.02.37

  • A table – approx 5ft x 3ft, or thereabouts (or two smaller tables that can be put together) – we’ll be using this as a desk and also as a meeting table
  • 2 wooden kitchen chairs
  • 1 office chair – this must go up and down!
  • 3 folding chairs
  • 2 tub chairs
  • 2 bookcases (we hope to house a small non-fiction LGBT library)
  • 1 small set of drawers (or set of small drawers!)
  • 1 colour laser-jet printer – preferably one of these 
  • 1 standard lamp
  • 1 desk lamp
  • 1 table lamp
  • 1 flipchart stand
  • 2 cushions
  • 1 two-drawer filing cabinet 
  • 1 rug – approx 5ft x 4ft, preferably forgiving – e.g. grey fleck, or similar (we have been offered one for £30 so there is an option for financial donation so we can purchase it)
  • 1 cupboard – to keep printer paper and toner in, possibly for printer to sit on top of, so a similar size to a 2-drawer filing cabinet
  • 1 coat stand
  • 1 umbrella stand

We have to pay a wodge up-front for the lease to be drawn up. This makes the first payment a bit top-heavy, to the tune of £360! We’d love any contributions to this as a one-off donation of £50 or more. Cheques made payable to Safe Ageing No Discrimination can be sent to SAND c/o 3 Mardol Gardens, Shrewsbury SY1 1PR. We have already had one cheque – huge thanks for that 🙂

That is a lot of money so – another way to help is to sign up to the SAND Well-Wishers scheme where we ask our friends and supporters to sign up to a monthly standing-order for £2 or £3 – the price of a coffee! You can do that by using this form: Well-Wishers Word Doc (or this pdf version: Well-Wishers pdf).

Shrewsbury_logo_hires_no_borderAnd that is not all. At a meeting on 18th April 2016 SAND voted to adopt the Shrewsbury Hub of the National Festival of LGBT History as a SAND project and take it forward to ensure some sort of festival in 2017. In 2016 there has been a great deal of overlap between the two as the volunteer organisers are pretty much the same and the aims and content of the festival align very well with SAND.  The Festival will still have its own website and bank account.

Meanwhile – catch up with what SAND has been up to by coming along on May 7th – we’ll be giving an update on our research – funded by Healthwatch Shropshire, plus some work we are doing to develop training packages. We are also submitting other funding applications and getting some good first-stage feedback so – fingers crossed!

With all this going on we want to make sure that we communicate as well as we can. Please sign up to our mailing list to keep in touch – you can do so here: SAND MailChimp mailing.

JournalAnd finally. Last year SAND was approached by the national Age UK organisation to contribute to a special issue of the academic journal Quality in Ageing and Older Adults which was going to focus specifically on LGBT people. We were asked to write a couple of film reviews and we chose to do this through a collective process of film viewing and group discussion. The journal is now out and about – and difficult to access on-line (here) but we are expecting a couple of copies to arrive in the post and we will make sure they go into the new library!

This Blog records what is happening at which point of SAND’s development.

Big strides forward

So, after a little lull and with the changing of the clocks we are pulling tight on bootstraps and preparing for the next phase of SAND. We have had some capacity issues as various Action Group Members got pulled away by life events – but, as things start to settle down 2016-04-02 08.02.37once again, energy levels are rising and we are plotting new things. The key aspect of this at the moment is our next event – planned for Saturday 7th May, we are inviting our LGBT friends, straight allies and colleagues to come along and hear about SAND’s work to date, the things in the pipeline and how we can all do a little to achieve a lot. Now that might sound like you run the risk of being tricked into putting your hand up for things that you don’t really want to do – but do not worry – that simply does not work as a strategy, we are much more interested in us working out together how the things that we do already contribute to SAND’s aims. Please do come – and bring your friends.

sand dollar 5Have a look at the event details here Building our own castles. We are asking people to book, simply so we know how many cups of tea to plan and how many biscuits to provide (we’ll dust them off first!).

We feel that SAND is at a pivotal point of change and so we are busy submitting proposals for funding to help us drive into the future and bring positive change to the experiences of older and old LGBT people. We are also delighted at the Captureresponse that came from the National Festival of LGBT History – Shrewsbury Hub and the contribution made by SAND, particularly to the exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery which included a set of 21 ‘History Boards’ like this one on Ageing.

We hope that this can be expanded upon at some point in the non-too-distant future.

We have news to share about our successful bid to Healthwatch Shropshire to take forwards some of the recommendations from our original research. And, also about a fabulous meeting we had with Stu Maddux who Directed the film Gen Silent which started SAND off in the first place. Stu came to Shrewsbury from California to join in the History Festival and he came along to meet some of the SAND Action Group – we caught that bit on camera!

So – we have not been idle – just a little quiet.

And – just before we sign off, please do consider our Well-Wishers scheme where individuals give a small amount each month. We’d like lots of people to contribute the price of a cup of coffee (£2 or £3) per month.  Just ten of these would make a huge difference as we could reliably cover our minimum monthly outgoings to pay for our accounting package! If you are willing to do that, just click this link and complete the form: Well-Wishers (if that doesn’t work for you, please try this PDF version) and return it to us.

We’ll see you on 7th May, if not before 😉

This Blog records what is happening at which point of SAND’s development.

Tardy festive wishes

2015-11-06 16.25.13We are distracted – not only by this amazing rainbow spotted from Shrewsbury Station, but by many things – which is a good thing and which means this post is a little late – apologies for that.

Many of the SAND Action Group members work full time in the paid work environment, others pack their time full of voluntary activity, others pack their time full of other joy. Basically – we are a busy busy bunch and recognise that we are not the only ones. This time of year offers some of us a bit of a break to catch up – for others it is still full on and we are particularly mindful, and appreciative of, all of those people who work in care services. We also want to ensure that those same care providers are equipped to respond to older and old LGBT people in the most appropriate way possible – that is part of what we are about.

We are very excited about our upcoming work with service providers specifically focussed on their practice when working with older and old trans people in the County. We have started meeting to develop our own work plan and will be contacting service providers in  the new year to start the first round of interviews. This is a ground-breaking piece of work in Shropshire and we are chuffed to bits to get a Healthwatch Shropshire research grant to undertake it and look forward to getting started ‘proper’.

Shrewsbury_logo_hires_no_borderWe are also a little occupied by our involvement in the National Festival of LGBT History, due to take place in February 2016. Shrewsbury is the Hub for the whole of the Midlands region and some of the SAND Members are heavily involved in its development. The Festival offers a full weekend of presentations, films, entertainment and more, as well as an exhibition at the new Museum & Art Gallery in Shrewsbury. Much of the weekend is free to enter (tickets may be required) – check it all out here: History Festival. There will be contributions Allthenicegirlsfrom International Human Rights Campaigners Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell; entertainment from All the Nice Girls; presentations from a whole host of academics, story-tellers, activists and authors. Also joining the festival is Stu Maddux – Stu is the Director of Gen Silent – the film that was the inspiration behind SAND’s development – it was screened by the Rainbow Film Festival in February 2012, followed by a panel discussion and questions from the floor. People in the audience then said they wanted to do something to find out about, and improve the situation for, older and old LGBT people in Shropshire. Come and meet Stu and ask him some questions – he is totally delighted about our SAND story and we are so looking forward to sharing it with him – you can book your seat to watch his new film ‘Reel in the Closet’ followed by a discussion on Sunday 14th Feb here: Reel in the Closet.

Onto other news and – one way or another (disco, auction and donations mainly), SAND now has a bit of money in the bank once more which makes it more possible to carry on with our work. We work to a modest budget and keep a (monetary equivalent) track of the volunteer hours contributed to SAND, which we started counting at the start of April 2014 – these volunteer hours now value in excess of £28,000!

Well 1In our last post we made a plea for people to contribute to SAND via our Well-Wishers scheme where individuals give a small amount each month. At our last meeting we had some lengthy discussion about this and would really like to encourage lots of people to contribute the price of a cup of coffee a month. Obviously this differs depending where you buy your coffee from but we thought between £2 and £3 per month. Imagine the difference that ten of these would make to the work that SAND can do! To join our existing valued Well-Wishers just click this link and complete the form: Well-Wishers (if that doesn’t work for you, please try this PDF version) and return it to us.

Linking all this together, we also talked about the presentations that SAND makes to organisations – somehow there can often be an assumption that we can/should do these for free. This is totally untenable for an unfunded group – especially one trying to operate more as a social enterprise! Hence, we have made the decision that we just cannot do ‘free’ – it would ultimately be the downfall of SAND to survive on nothing when offering a service to organisations which employ salaried staff. Of course, there will always be exceptions but as a general principle we do need service providers to value what we offer and contribute to our ability to provide to others in the future. SAND rates are very reasonable – between £75 and £250 for a 90 – 180 minute presentation and facilitated conversation. This feels like a very healthy and helpful discussion for us – and absolutely in line with our longer term planning.

Our annual stats for social media 

Mailchimp Newsletter 60 (Dec 2015 this was 57; Feb 2014 this was 34)

Twitter 182 (Dec 2015 – 126; Feb 2014 – 22)

Facebook 176 (Dec 2015 – 129; Feb 2014 – 76)

Here’s looking forward to 2016.

This Blog records what is happening at which point of SAND’s development.

Doing and dancing

November is nearly over which means that the fabulous SAND fundraising disco and auction #sanddance15 is over and what a night! Once again the event raised over £2,000 which is just fabulous! Huge thanks go to Jeremy from Hall’s who once again did such a good – and hilarious – job with the auction and, of course to everyone who gave items – you are total stars and we are so appreciative.

As well as a fundraiser, the disco aims to raise awareness of SAND and, sure enough, we have a few more followers on facebook and twitter as a result, so keep sharing and spreading the word.

At the moment we are working on our membership – as more people express interest in getting involved with SAND, we need to work out how they can do that and not be left high and dry. We want people to be able to put their talents to good use and to find their work with SAND rewarding and a good use of time – hmmmm. So – we are looking at some form of volunteering scheme, we’ll be making notes on that as we go along.

We are also delighted to report that we have once again secured a small grant to take forward one ofHURRAH the recommendations from our last Healthwatch Shropshire funded research – namely to talk to health and social care providers about their responses to older and old Trans people in the County. We have drawn up our research plan and will start any day now.

This research, the planned care home visits and building connections with other groups is the mainstay of our activity at the moment and – bearing in mind that every member of the SAND Action Group is a volunteer, we are doing pretty well!

Oh, and we are planning an event for the Spring – this will be about bringing our own communities together to update on what we are doing and encourage more involvement.

Of course, SAND is operating in a given environment and we unclear about the implications of the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group going into special measures – we had hoped for their engagement too, in the issues we are raising, but it now looks like we may have to wait!

Saturday Disco and fundraising auction

Doors open at 7.15pm this Saturday at the Darwin Community Centre in Shrewsbury – just over the Welsh Bridge, turning left and next door to the chip shop! Tickets selling well and available on the door (£10 or £7 concessions). We’ll be starting with a fabulous line-dance lesson from Jane Hoy – imagine that later in the night when Saturday Night Fever comes on!! The auction starts at 8pm – items listed at – and you can place bids in advance – just contact us via our website ‘contact us’ page to pledge. Jeremy from Hall’s will be with us once more – and there will be another chance to get that bargain champagne!

DJ Mike is back spinning the vinyl with Hattie – we just cannot wait!Publicity