Spring is in our steps

Strange things are happening in the SAND camp – absolutely loads is on the cards locally and we have some great contacts, various sessions lined up and lots of interest – and meanwhile a sniff of wider connections further afield are back in the air. This is a great combo for us – we have never wanted to bury our heads in our own local sand (intended pun)  to the exclusion of a broader context, so this feels good.

Joe (Left) and Stu

Continue reading “Spring is in our steps”


Stop Press: special guests Stu & Joe

Stu Maddux

You saw it here first – we are delighted to announce that Film Director Stu Maddux and Producer Joe Applebaum will be joining us at the SAND Spring Disco, Saturday 29th April. 

Joe Applebaum

Partners – in life and in talent – Stu and Joe gave us Gen Silent – the film that sowed the seeds of SAND and we are so chuffed that the trip from their home in California to Shropshire coincides with our Disco – they are both so supportive of SAND and we are looking forward to inviting them to dance.

With DJs Mike and Hat spinning the vinyl once more – and throwing some 80’s into the mix, it’s got to be a winner!

Get your tickets in advance here – TICKETS – or on the door at the Darwin Community Centre, Frankwell, Shrewsbury, SY3 8JS. £10 a pop – friends and allies welcome. If you want to dance, come on down. Doors open 8pm.

Getting to the nuts and bolts of it

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. Continue reading “Getting to the nuts and bolts of it”

Boom – back in business

Thursday’s meeting was great – back to form with great attendance and lots of ideas. One of the things we touched on is the website design – we need to move our paypal donate button to the front page at the very least (hmmm – this of course sets in motion a whole ton of thoughts about what is possible, so watch this space).

We’re still plugging away with the old funding bids – there are a couple of deadlines looming and we also wait with baited breath to hear about our local application. We had loads of discussion about our priorities and realise that we have no future if we cannot put some money in the bank – everything we do will just collapse and be totally unsustainable.

Well 1In response, we are preparing to push our Well-Wishers scheme – we have TWO lovely WWs signed up so far, and we had hoped to have NINETEEN by this stage. Anyone can become a SAND Well-Wisher – it’s easy and we have a straightforward form to help it happen – click  here. Well-Wishers can donate as little or as much as they like each month.

It is also all hands on deck for the 70’s disco and fundraising auction  Continue reading “Boom – back in business”

Post Summer energy boost

Blimey it feels like far too long since the last blog – there are a couple of reasons for that – the first being that the team took a little break and didn’t meet in August, the second being that a key member went and got a full-time job so we have been tussling to find new ways of working which keep the interests of older and old LGBT people on everyone’s agenda – and we have got more and more ideas!day-nightmap

So – very practically, we have changed our meetings so we can accommodate our working and
can’t come in work time
– and non-working or can come in work time in equal measure. Our cunning plan is … Continue reading “Post Summer energy boost”

You know when you press the gas pedal …?

Wow, it feels like we have lift off!

SAND is a perpetual growth machine at the moment with more excitement ahead so, whilst the last month saw our latest in a series of failed funding proposals we are not down – we eat too much cake to be down. We are buoyant!

We have completed our research for HealthWatch Shropshire and facilitated a very rewarding20150201_152218 dissemination event for everyone who took part – what a great afternoon we had down at the Two Fat Rascals Coffee House (if you haven’t tried it yet give it a whirl). Hot soup, scrummy chilli bread – and yes, cake kept us all going as we fed back the research findings to the participants who engaged in all the discussions and had a great time to boot – at least that’s what they said! The draft final report has now been written and will be sent off to HealthWatch Shropshire – once it comes back with a thumbs up then we’ll be able to share the key points and our plan for ‘what’s next’.

If that’s not exciting enough, we are in the final stages of becoming a Company-proper (having said that it probably won’t be until after next month’s blog so expect to read that again). This is a major move for us as it confirms us as a social enterprise (that’s a bit scary) on some sort of trajectory. Once that’s all done and dusted we’ll be scrutinising our Action Plan to identify all the income earning opportunities so don’t be shy if you think of anything – chuck it in the  pot.

Our failure to get through to the second round of our latest bid we are, as mentioned, undaunted and are forging ahead with ideas – it’s all a but hush hush at the moment because we are at such early stages but there are 2 things happening and we are ‘in talks’!

LOLSAND folk continue to be out and about, up and down the country doing stuff and talking to people – check that particular journey here – click. We are also supporting a new initiative to encourage old lesbians – over the age of 70 (or thereabouts) to grab a coffee and enjoy a good quality discussion. Click here to see the poster.

We have sniffs (i.e. small – perhaps increasing)  interest in helping out with the development of some sort of network of practitioners – that is people all over the place who are working on similar stuff to us. It feels really important to have this something like this – to avoid duplication, support and encourage each other, share exciting stories and all that jazz. As with everything these days it is the division of labour to make it happen which is the biggest question mark over its future.

Perhaps most exciting of all are the plans up our sleeves for an array of different events in 2015 – now, it feels a bit scary to mention them so early on and they all come with a caveat along the lines of ‘let’s wait a little while to see what happens’ but it was logged here first:

  • Some sort of event for LGBT people around housing options
  • Maybe something a bit digital (is that too cryptic?)
  • An event for service providers to talk about SAND’s work
  • Our second 1970’s fundraising disco in November – following last year’s rip-roaring success
  • A little idea to have another ‘social’ in July to keep people grooving until November

We are also currently doing a bit of research into LGBT aware solicitors practices in Shropshire – watch this space – it is already looking very interesting and prompted some great conversations at today’s meeting.

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

Oh what a night!

Indeed – what a great night we had at the SAND fundraising auction & 70’s disco where we raised £2,200 – thank you all!

DSCF067790+ people turned up to a thoroughly enjoyable evening of manic bidding, champagne game, curry and boogie on down. It was a great team effort and we had generous donations to the auction which, on its own raised over half of the night’s income so big thanks to everyone who pitched in and especially to Jeremy from Hall’s who did us a great job.

DSCF0735Many people have already commented on the great atmosphere as our LGBT community, friends and straight allies descended on the Darwin Community Centre in Shrewsbury and there have been demands for a repeat which the SAND Action Group discussed at our monthly meeting yesterday. So, you have heard it here first – that SAND will run a similar event on 21st November 2015 so put the date in your DSCF0621diary and look out for tickets when they go on sale next Autumn. We expect it to be popular following this year’s success.

All of this is about raising SAND’s profile and fundraising to take the work forward. The event worked on both fronts as more people have been asking about SAND’s work and hits on the website have

DSCF0631increased – remember you can also follow us on twitter, like our facebook page and follow this blog.

As usual, we have been busy attending events which touch on the issues we are working with. In the last month we have been to London for a conference put on by the Campaign to End DSCF0682Loneliness and to Worcester for a seminar at the Centre for Palliative Care The Watershed: Sexuality, Assisted Dying. LGBT Issues in Palliative Care. Details about all our activities are recorded on our website which we update regularly. There is a slot at each of our Action Group meetings to feedback and discuss what is being learned from these events and the information will go into our DSCF0619research pot to reinforce or question our own local findings, as well as inform the development of our Action Plan.

Talking of which, the latest reincarnation of the SAND Plan is coming along nicely. We still have our 3 key priorities which we reported on in July and over the last 4 months we have worked our way through each key priority to identify the outcomes we want to achieve DSCF0780under each of these and the activities we want to prioritise in line with those outcomes.  Our next job will be to revisit the list of contacts that we identified at our Away Day and link them into these activities – so we start by contacting the people that we already have some form of relationship with. Does that make sense?

Alongside this we have just worked up our ‘offer’ to organisations. This means that we are now Trainingin a position to offer some training and consultancy to raise awareness of issues impacting on older – and old – LGBT people.

Yesterday the SAND Action Group took the deliberate decision to adopt the language of ‘older & old’, reclaiming the word ‘old’ as an affirmative strategy – recognising that many people are proud to be old, to let people know their age and appreciation of their life experience, health and development over the years. This is an important move for us and we will begin changing the language on our leaflets and other materials.

Thanks for the Auction & Disco photos! www.mairiturnerphotography.co.uk

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