Shifting SAND – in a good way!

flyer-picBefore we start this month’s blog – don’t miss our November Fundraiser – always a good night. This year we’re having A Night at the Races – only £5 to get in if you reserve or buy your ticket in advance, £7 on the door. It is bound to be a great night.
You can reserve a ticket on Eventbrite here: Race Night

……. is shifting SAND usually an uncertain thing? It just seemed fitting to use that as a header when we find ourselves in a time of cautiously exciting forward motion! Continue reading “Shifting SAND – in a good way!”


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”

Feedback on last week’s event

It is already a week since we hosted our first ever event for Service Providers and it has just flown by. We were delighted that 53 people signed into the event, with a good proportion turning up when the doors opened, giving chance to browse around the stalls and help themselves to refreshments. We welcomed representation from many organisations, including Oswestry College; Abbey Care; Healthwatch Shropshire; Shropshire Seniors; Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group; Terry Jones Solicitors; Help2Change (Shropshire Personal_LPC1Public Health); Terrence Higgins Trust; Telford & Wrekin Council; Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin; FRESh (Equalities Forum); Vicarage Nursing Home; LGBT Shrewsbury; Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin; Veraty Care Solutions; Eternal Life Community Church; Aubrey Kirkham Funeral Directors; Manby Bowdler Solicitors; SIGNAL; Shropshire Partnership of Advice & Advocacy; Citizens Advice Shropshire; Alzheimers Society and NHS England.  Continue reading “Feedback on last week’s event”

One giant step

Here we go – heading heartily for exciting times in 2015.

Our slow move to Company registration is now on a trajectory – we just need to nail the business plan and financial forecast and we’ll be away. I imagine this is quite hard to believe after all this time, but it really does feel like the final straight (no pun intended). We have written and agreed our Articles which ensure we can continue to operate pretty much as we have been, with ownership and decision-making by the whole Action Group.

We have identified a Sector-savvy accountant to help produce the approved accounts we will need in 12 months and are looking into insurance providers, calling on those in the know for suggestions – it would appear that Social Enterprises are that little bit different (of course!)

The bank balance is inevitably looking a little low these days so we are going to have to applyRainbow_cake ourselves to income generation, fundraising and grant applications – preferably all in line with our Action Plan! In terms of income generation we provided some training for Shropshire Fire & Rescue which went down so well they have asked us back for more. We are also in conversation with some local solicitors and all this will become much clearer when we dive into the business plan stuff (we’ll try to add some cheer to the process – perhaps cake will help!

We do plan to set up a regular donations-type scheme but we are waiting until we have our Company details all sorted because we will have to change our bank account at this stage. Thanks to everyone who has made enquiries about this.

Fundraising – we have a couple of benefit nights up our sleeves which we need to work on – the coming month will be crucial if we’re going to get those sorted. We would like a reputation for fun as well as gravity, so these are really important to all the SAND Action Group members – they are a great opportunity for raising awareness as well as generating a bit of dosh.

As for grant applications – they don’t seem to be our best source of income but we are rarely down about it. We spent a good few days this month working out a cunning plan – but we’re not telling in case it doesn’t come off. If it does we’ll be shouting from the rooftops.

Table1Diary date alert – We will be running an event on 21st May (afternoon) specifically for providers of health and social care. Here we will be presenting the findings from the research funded by Healthwatch Shropshire. We are also planning ‘a special turn’ – watch this space 🙂 We will be setting up an Eventbrite page for people to sign up and we’ll send details around as soon as they are ready.

We are also following up on plans to do something around housing options for older and old LGBT people. Severnside Housing is planning an LGBT Drop-in event on 6th June (details to follow) for all age groups and there is some research afoot which we will know more about shortly. This fits well with our own plans to hold some sort of event about Housing options – although we feel we should nudge this along a bit and wait to see what the research reveals before rushing into anything.

Our communications with local solicitors is moving along – we have visited one practice and had some really positive conversations. These look like developing and we are looking forward to seeing what happens next. We are due to meet with a second practice in April. We’re being a bit hedgy right now because we need to have the conversations with them first – before plonking it on a blog!

Diary date alert: coming up in May is IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) on 17th when the Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival will be hosting an afternoon book signing -2pm at the Two Fat Rascals in Shrewsbury’s Riverside Precinct with Peter Scott-Presland and his book Amiable Warriors tracking and celebrating the story of CHE – the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (apologies for the long sentence). Following this, at 8pm at The Hive will be a screening of the road movie: FagBug

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!

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

Coming Out!

The SAND launch to the LGBT community in Shropshire – and straight allies – took place on 5th July 2014 and was a hit. Numbers shifted over the 4 hour session – between 30 and 40 people turned out to have a look at archival displays, hear our special guest Jane Traies speak and get a look at the SAND presentation that is making the rounds of agencies in the area. There were messages of support from Sandi Toksvig, Peter Tatchell and Sue Sanders – we’ll put a page on the website to write these out and keep a record of the day. After all the input we had a ‘Discussion Cafe’ (with cake) to draw responses and ideas out of the people who were there and to add to the information now coming for our research interviews. We’re going to feed the information from these into the ongoing research we are doing.


As well as the launch, SAND popped up at the Shrewsbury Carnival along with other local LGBT organisations and groups – this was the second year of a rainbow presence and it feels like it is well received and making a good mark. SAND made links there with a local nursing home which had a float and many a badge was given out to people in the parade. It was great way to make some contacts and be seen – looks like a good one for next year too.

The banner popped up again at the Shropshire Older People’s Assembly Public meeting and this sort of visibility is really building confidence amongst the Action Group and local LGBT community who are increasingly engaging – coming along to the launch, taking part in the research, connecting on facebook or twitter.

At today’s Action Group meeting we revisited our SAND priorities – brushing them up a bit. We reflected that we have been doing quite  bit on the first one (empowering older LGBT people), are just about making a start on the second (targeting organisations) and very little on the third (influence) so – quite rightly – we will be moving into a slightly different era in the Autumn. We changed some of the wording as well to help us be clear about our intentions – changing ‘priorities’ to ‘outcomes’ and tightening up some of the messages – so they now look a bit like this:

Outcome one        Empowered older Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans people
This means that: LGBT people in care settings raise issues; LGBT people access the information they need; LGBT people ‘come out’; Older LGBT people are engaged and embraced (not isolated)

Outcome two        Empowering organisations
This means that: Providers ‘get that there is something to get’! Organisations improve practice; Service provision is appropriate to LGBT need; Organisations are held to account; Providers are proactive and come and ask us for help

Outcome three     Influencing Policy
This means that: Commissioners and influencers know that there is ‘something to get’ and come to us for help; Organisational culture and strategies change to proactively engage with and respond to LGBT people about their health & social care needs; Good working practice is supported by policy; SAND practice is informed by research, evidence and statistics

These are our aspirations for the next part of our journey and we will be working up jobs to help us to achieve them.

Quite a lot going on again

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

Moving and shaking

Returning to our blog on a monthly basis helps to keep the list of things to do alive – note to self is to update the website in line with the progress on the action plan which we logged in February). The very big news this month is that SAND has been awarded a small grant from HealthWatch Shropshire to carry out some research with younger-older (aged 50+) LGBT people in the County. This is fantastic – our first grant and something to get our teeth into. Meanwhile we are busy looking at other funders to help us progress.

We are also now looking at events – something to ‘launch’ SAND within the LGBT community – and with those all important straight allies – this looks like it might happen in the Summer. It feels like it is about time to ‘get out there’ and now we seem to have plenty to say we feel the need to share it!

There are a couple of fun fundraising events in the pipeline too so a couple of the Action Group members are looking at those. These events are also planned to increase the profile of SAND – get the word out about the aims and build a bigger family. We are looking at individuals, businesses, local groups and drawing up some guidance notes to help us to communicate with each of these.

Alongside all this we have started developing some policies – members of the Action Group who already have things like Confidentiality Policies and Ethics Policies have shared these which has helped us to pull together something which makes sense for SAND. We looked at these at last week’s meeting and putting all our heads together led to some useful alterations. We are still working on a safe-guarding policy which a couple of the group have taken away to work on.

Looking more externally, SAND now has the beginnings of a presentation to take to organisations. It lasts about 20 minutes but add another 45 for the discussion and questions it provokes and we are selling this out for approx £50 – for a couple of the SAND Action Group to take it out in Shropshire. Anyone interested in booking this can contact us using the form below.

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