Who we are

Not quite all of us! The SAND Action Group Away Day June 2017

SAND started when a group of us went to see the same film. As part of LGBT History Month 2012, the Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival screened Gen Silent, a thought provoking, sometimes shocking film about the experience of older & old LGBT people and care services. The film consisted of a set of interviews with older & old LGBT people in Boston, USA and got us thinking about how things might be for older & old LGBT people in this country, and particularly in Shropshire.

After a few informal gatherings, SAND established a core group on 15th July 2013 – we call it an Action Group which comes together monthly to gather feedback from older & old LGBT people and plan future actions. We also have a broader collection of people who want to keep in touch with us, to know what we are doing and perhaps take part in different ways at different times.

In May 2015, we formally became a social enterprise by registering as a not for profit company Limited by Guarantee – and have raised a bit of money from local donations, a couple of small research grants from HealthWatch Shropshire, fundraising events and charging a fee for our presentation and training events. We are developing the services that we can deliver to different sectors in the interests of improving the experiences of older & old LGBT people in the context of health and social care.

Action Group

Kay Davies until recently, Kay was a local Matron and Care Manager who has worked to improve standards in Care Homes for the last 20 years, she now works as an agency nurse. Kay is SAND Secretary

Betty Halford is an old woman passionate about her community and thinking ahead realistically to when she may need to call on care services. She likes check shirts!

Geoff Hardy is a Trustee of the Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival, an annual festival which aims to entertain, educate, challenge and change, and a Board member of FRESh – Shropshire equivalent equalities forum.

Heather Osborne is Chief Executive of Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin – a local independent charity committed to pursuing equality for older people.

James Turner has had a career ranging from information analysis in the NHS to language teaching, and is currently working towards a move into professional web development

Jo Jeays retired at the start of 2017 having worked in health and social care for the last 20 years latterly as an assssor of diplomas and apprenticeships.

Sal Hampson is a Trustee of Age UK Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and currently works as Development Assistant at Shrewsbury Dial-a-Ride and Programmes and Projects Manager at the Hive.

Sue Gorbing is a Freelance trainer and facilitator and  Trustee for West Mercia Women’s Aid. Sue is SAND Chair

Jackie Stengelhofen is an 81 year old woman and has had 3 very important relationships with other women in her life, she has been in a Civil Partnership since 2008. “Someone who I have loved and still love deeply has severe dementia. She has been placed in a care home very far from me, against my wishes. The people who arranged this claim that they are her family but are not. This has caused me huge anguish and expense using a solicitor to fight this. I feel this experience which I can share with others in similar situations, and help others avoid the problems that I have had.  I am deeply concerned about all LGBT, particularly older people , who suffered from ignorance in the past” . 

Emma Jackson is a part qualified accountant with a wealth of experience who is happy to help toward a cause which she believes in. Emma is SAND Treasurer

Les Woods is a retired 68 year old with a background in local government. He worked for the Association of Metropolitan Authorities for over 10 years as principal coordinating officer HIV/AIDS. He set up a training programme for HIV Coordinators across the UK and serviced a national Chief Officers group, publishing policy and practice guides on HIV and AIDS for all Local Authorities in the UK. In later years he worked on the ‘Top Managers Programme” which was run by the Improvement and Development Agency and focused on developing future local government leaders. Les has also worked as a probation officer and as a social worker in residential and fieldwork jobs.


Former Action Group Members – who remain as dear and committed friends

Dr Judith Wester, a founder Member of SAND, is Director of CEDAR, a non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing knowledge, understanding and acceptance of death through education and consultancy. CEDAR provides death education to those working in the public and private sectors, community groups and individuals needing to know how to talk about death and deliver bad news in compassionate and appropriate ways. (from the start – April 2016)

David Bell is a Trustee of Age UK Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. He was a campaigning & social member of CHE, Spoke often at Speakers Corner with Jackie McKenzie, did work in TV /Radio, spoke to many groups and came out as a gay teacher. (from March 2014 – April 2016)

Paul Craig works for Severnside Housing/ Sustain consortium, providing support to keep people living independently in their own homes  supporting them with many issues that could make them homeless or having to go into care. Paul has an NVQ in supported Housing, Diploma in Health and Social Care, Professional  Certificate in managing Health and Social Care, and a Certificate in Mental Health Studies.

Jane Chaplin, is recently retired, having worked for many years in Local Government in Environmental Health, looking at housing and hygiene standards and associated work and in Management of housing stock in the public sector. She has brought that knowledge and experience for the benefit of SAND. Jane is also able to support and advise on Trangender issues, for  people and organisations looking towards SAND for support and information.

Lee Lewis is a service manager for the Royal Voluntary Service. She visits clients and holds reminiscing sessions in nursing homes in the Shrewsbury area.

Elaine Beney is an experienced Director in industrial and commercial enterprises and is experienced in developing processes, budgeting, statistical analysis and cost control. Elaine was SAND’s Treasurer until June 2016.