It’s nearly the end of the year

…. and it’s been all go since we last blogged!

17th October was our big Spirit of SAND event and we couldn’t have been more proud. Over 40 people came along to share an afternoon of film, song, conversation, presentation and ideas. Amongst them were many service providers from different sectors as well as representation from our LGBT community. There is a whole load of information for us to collate  here’s a taste from when we asked everyone to share a WOW moment from the afternoon:

  • the importance of sharing experiences in the form of stories, so the issues come to life
  • the difference between acceptance (behind closed doors) and celebrating/embracing the difference between people – and the size of that impact
  • The Too Old to Remember song highlighted that everyone’s story should be celebrated no matter who they are and every relationship is beautiful!
  • The fear that LGBT people may have of open intimacy with a loved one
  • If individuals don’t feel safe/accepted – how many people are pretending every day?
  • Given the statistics we have seen today….8 or 9 of our service users are probably not living as themselves
  • It’s not about me. I ,may be comfortable but we need to make others comfortable living in their own skin
  • Saying “we don’t need to mention inclusivity – we’re ok” is actually making a choice to do and be the opposite

Continue reading “It’s nearly the end of the year”


Step out of that shadow

Somewhat grabbing centre stage is the news that SAND has just been awarded an Awards for All grant, hurrah. The news dropped in to our inbox yesterday as the Action Group arrived at the office for our monthly update – so perfect timing and fantastic news!

The Lottery Funded “Grains of SAND” project starts in January and will give us loads of scope to build on the upcoming Spirit of SAND Event on 17th October and develop resources to realise the theory that if service providers understand more about LGBT experiences, they are more likely to be able to provide an equitable and accessible service. Continue reading “Step out of that shadow”

Spirit of SAND

Book Now: SAND Tickets – free 

Tuesday 17th October 12 – 4pm at The Hive, 5 Belmont, Shrewsbury SY1 1TE

We are delighted to confirm our first couple of panelists for our Spirit of SAND event:

  • Cath Molineux, Nurse Consultant, Shropshire Community Services who we have been working with to deliver sessions for staff working in End of Life care across the County
  • David Coull, Chair of the National Care Forum, Chair of Shropshire Partners in Care (we have been delivering sessions to SPIC members in different parts of the County) and Director of Coverage Care who we are currently working with to undertake some research to identify appropriate points of intervention to improve working practice.

The panel will be Chaired by Dr Jane Traies, author of The Lives of Older Lesbians: Sexuality, Identity & the Life Course

The event is open to everyone interested in LGBT people accessing health & social care in later life and the programme is taking shape nicely and looks a bit like this:

12.00pm Reception – tea, coffee and light lunch on arrival

12.30pm Film screening Gen Silent (NEW 25 min version)

12.55pm Welcome

1.10pm PANEL – health & social care providers

1.40pm Q & A

2.00pm BREAK

2.15pm Input from SAND

2.30pm Tables discussions & feedback

3.30pm Summary & what next

4.00pm End

We would like to thank our sponsors for making this event possible and look forward to seeing you there, please book your ticket/s here: SAND Tickets – free 


Terry Jones Solicitors

Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival



Small tasks – big ideas

Shrewsbury Carnival

Did you feel a flurry of activity start a couple of months ago? We certainly did, as SAND got a injection of fuel in the form of new volunteers, new plans, and new funding applications.

We have also started talking about sub-groups and promotions strategy!! This is to add to our growing field of Research & Development: we have now delivered 3 sessions to staff working in End of Life Care, 3 to members of Shropshire Partners in Care, one research session with Coverage Care and one research session with Radfield Home Care – these last two with more to come, plus we had a presence at the Community Health Trust Observe and Act and Equality Diversity System 2 events. There is plenty more to come and connections to made to the Housing sector, GPs, Social Work Teams and more – watch this space as we forge ahead. Continue reading “Small tasks – big ideas”

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”

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”

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:

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.