We are delighted to have launched our Covenant and to have received such interest and enthusiasm from organisations across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin. Scroll down to see who is signing up to the 5 commitments ….

Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin – website

Information and Advice is only one of the extensive range of services provided by AgeUK STW, they also offer help and support with: advocacy, living power of attorney (charged service), help at home (charged but subsidised), home from hospital scheme (South Shropshire only) and lots of social groups, including dementia support, dementia respite service, 28 day centres, knitting, ballet, women’s walking football, many more.

AgeUKSTW has been involved with SAND from the very beginning:

  • their CEO is one of the founder members, as well as being on the original panel for the UK premiere of Gen Silent.
  • SAND has worked with AgeUKSTW to develop their LGBT+ specific REACH tele-friending service
  • about a dozen staff have taken part in the SAND LGBT+ Awareness Training
  • their CEO took part in the first tranche of our Training for Facilitators
  • they had a stall at our Afternoon Tea event in May 2022
  • the organisation is in conversation with the ‘In the Café’ older & old LGBT+ Group to see how they can support them moving forwards
  • AgeUK will also be hosting a display of the LGBT+ History Boards in their prominent public-facing windows during the 2023 LGBT+ History festival.

We are delighted to see their very public declaration of commitment to the Covenant: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/shropshireandtelford/about-us/news/articles/2023/we-embrace-a-culture-of-inclusion/

Axis Counselling – has signed up and say “We want Axis to provide a safe and equitable service for workers and clients alike, we want our service to be fully inclusive to everyone. No matter what sexuality or gender identification we feel that everybody deserves a safe space to deal with their trauma and to move forward with their lives, in line with SAND” Be Yourself” values”.

Counselling: Since signing up to the Covenant , We now have a designated LGBTQ+ champion counsellor who has worked with a number of LGBTQ+ clients. These clients have been of all ages, including 70+, and all have been given a safe and non-judgemental space in which to explore and process their trauma.

ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) Service: We now have a specialist LGBTQ+ ISVA who acts as point of contact who provides advice and support to other members of staff and seeks out any relevant training to disseminate to the team. .
Many of our ISVA’s have been on the SAND LGBT+ Awareness training course which has provided them with a better understanding of the issues and barriers in relation to clients coming forward to report.
We have promoted SAND through events and meetings and have referred clients for support and guidance.

Citizens Advice Shropshirewebsite

CAS provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone and campaigns to improve the policies that affect people’s lives. CAS also provides specialist services including: Pension Wise – a free and impartial government guidance service about the different ways you can take money from your pension. Their debt team provides specialist advice on managing your money and dealing with your debts.

CAS was the first organisation to sign up to the Covenant. They:

  • have helped SAND to develop the Covenant itself, helping us to tweak and shape our template action plan.
  • they have developed and have now started implementing their own action plan.
  • their CEO talked about their commitment at the 2022 Shrewsbury LGBT+ History Festival Launch event
  • their lead for the Covenant took part in our panel at the Future-proofing event we held in October 2022
  • They have a staff member booked onto Tranche 2 of the EMBRACE Facilitator Training, Autumn 2023.

They have a Pride flag on the home page of their website and a clear statement about their commitment to the Covenant.

Community Resource – has signed up to the Covenant because they want to:

  • improve access to their services for older and old LGBT+ people
  • build effective relationships with older and old LGBT+ people
  • build effective relationships with other organisations who support and provide services for older and old LGBT+ people
  • be an example of good practice in the Sector

They have developed their action plan and have already commissioned and received a SAND LGBT+ Awareness course in June 2023, attended by 18 staff and 2 Trustees. The senior management team has met with SAND to talk through their action plan which is now being implemented.

Coverage Care Services Ltdwebsite

Coverage is a not-for-profit organisation, providing nursing, residential and respite care services for older people and those living with dementia or a disability throughout Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin

  • They have identified some enthusiastic and dedicated staff as champions, and now hold regular meetings for the champions to agree to their corporate approach to raising awareness. The Champions are sharing their commitment to the covenant in staff meetings and discussing during their shifts. All champions photos are displayed in reception areas and Champions wear a rainbow flay badge for easy identification.
  • The Champions are developing a leaflet specifically about LGBT+ inclusivity.
  • Rainbow flags are displayed on the entrance doors.
  • All of their homes have the Age UK LGBTQ+ information booklets to share with residents, families and staff.
  • They have added a LGBTQ+ resources area to their training portal and regularly post podcast discussions, articles and links available to all of staff and residents. They are also putting 1000 staff through the Care Skills Academy Course LGBT Aware to Care
  • They have amended their admission documents to ask about people’s identity in the hope by raising the question their residents may wish to talk about their life experiences and are developing a script for answering the phone which asks about he callers ‘partner’.
  • They have committed to celebrating LGBTQ+ History Festival by showcasing information boards in their homes
  • They are busy planning activities to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride month.
  • One of their residents has recently “come out” whilst in the care home and the manager has supported the individual to attend SAND’s In the Café and to take part in The Wave Project.

Cruse Bereavement Support (West Midlands) – website

Cruse helps people through one of the most painful times in life – with bereavement support, information and campaigning.

They are a national organisation and the team at the West Midlands branch have a very good relationship with SAND, proactively arranging regular meetings to talk through ideas and working towards the development of a specific resource for older and old LGBT+ people. Since signing up to the Covenant, Cruse has:

  • developed a very doable action plan
  • two Cruse volunteers have taken part in our LGBT+ Awareness Training
  • the same two Cruse volunteers have taken part in our Training for Facilitators programme.
  • started discussion with SAND about co-producing useful resources aimed specifically at LGBT+ people.
  • revised and audited the Cruse website and marketing materials (awaiting clearance)
  • carrying out pilot CPD taster session with Bereavement volunteers in April, using person centred training techniques to introduce SAND film clips and to facilitate discussion to raise awareness
  • revised referral forms to include gender.

Energize STW website

The Energize purpose is to improve quality of life through the benefits of physical activity. Amongst other things, Energize host the Elevate programme. This is a movement exercise programme designed for over 60s to  strengthen muscles to improve and maintain posture, coordination, and balance.

Since signing up to the Covenant, Energize STW has:

  • commissioned SAND to run a half day LGBT+ Awareness session with 13 members of the team (2 on Zoom!)
  • developed an action plan
  • met with SAND to discuss how to take their action plan forward

Energize are recording their own progress on their action plan on their website.

Healthwatch Shropshire – want to demonstrate their commitment to being an inclusive organization, welcoming of all people in volunteer roles, staff team, professional relationships and most importantly for members of the public contacting them.

They have developed an initial action plan which includes the following points:

  • All staff, volunteers and board members attend Diverse Shropshire: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training course as part of their induction.
  • During our Enter & View visits to care homes and hospital wards we ask how they are ensuring all people feel welcome and in particular that LGBT+ people feel comfortable in these environments

Much Wenlock and Cressage Medical Practice – the SAND Team has had an initial meeting with them to discuss development of their action plan. The Covenant lead has also contributed lots of ideas about how to reach other colleagues and let them know about SAND and the EMBRACE project and it looks like a staff member may book onto Tranche 2 of the EMBRACE Facilitator Training, Autumn 2023.

Positive Steps Shropshire – are reviewing all of their policies and procedures to make sure they are inclusive. They are also currently updating their digital care system and have ensured that they can monitor health and social care needs of 50+ year old LGBT+ people. In May 2023, Positive Steps submitted their action plan to SAND in which they state why they have signed up:

  • To improve the service for older and old LGBT+ people with Learning Disabilities and Mental ill Health
  • To ensure a safe and welcoming service for older and old LGBT+ people with Learning Disabilities and Mental ill Health
  • To provide the skills to staff and Shared Lives carers to ensure support of sex positive relationships.
  • For the staff to feel confident to challenge discrimination should it occur
  • To uphold Article 8 The Right to a Private Life, of the Human Rights Act and create an inclusive environment for all
  • To ensure Positive Steps Shropshire meet CQC standards and work in a person-centred way to meet the needs of people from all equality groups, for example Older and Old LGBTQ+ individuals

Qube – has signed up and we are looking forward to working with them

Radfield Home Care (Shrewsbury & Oswestry) website

Radfield is a home care provider, with additional specialism in care for the elderly with medication and dementia care needs.

Radfield has been connected with SAND for a long time in one way or another. Since signing the Covenant, Radfield has:

  • commissioned training from SAND for 8 staff members
  • committed to all key staff taking part in LGBT Awareness E-learning (this is not SAND’s training)
  • completed the  first EMBRACE Training for Facilitators programme for 2 members of staff
  • started working on their Action Plan, looking both at LGBT+ clients and at recruiting carers from LGBT+ communities aged 50+.
  • delivered a presentation at an In The Cafe session
  • taken part on the panel for SAND’s Future-proofing event in October 2022.

Radfield has a visible commitment to the Covenant on their website

Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt (RJAH) Orthopaedic Hospital – has signed up and we are looking forward to working with them

RJAH invited SAND to a promotional signing: Read more here

SaTH (Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals) – has signed up and we are looking forward to working with them. SAND was invited to an initial meeting to share ideas about such a big and complex organisation can fulfil its commitments under the Covenant. We met with an influential team, including the Directors of Nursing and Workforce and began formulating a plan.

Severn Hospice – has articulated why they wanted to signed up to the Covenant, they say that they want:

  • To improve access for all.
  • To build trust in the local community.
  • To create a more inclusive work environment.
  • To improve communication.
  • To establish partnerships which will maximise our influence.
  • Staff and volunteers to feel confident in providing the service to marginalised groups.
  • The organisation to be in a better position to influence change in policies and practices that are discriminatory to marginalised groups.
  • Benchmarking ideas and good practice with professional peers outside our organisation.
  • Services become more relevant to the communities we are serving.

Where we are now update (June 2023)

  • Working group – Completed and finalised covenant sent to SAND May 2023
  • Appointment of Community Engagement Lead in post since Jan 2023 on 2-year secondment. This post will raise hospice awareness and help to improve access for all communities. Community Engagement Lead will share our commitments with our seldom heard communities via engagement opportunities– This will be ongoing.
  • The Community Engagement Lead will champion equality.
  • Education – Community Engagement Lead and Education Lead to attend LGBT awareness training in June 2023 which will have a positive impact on raising awareness around LGBT community.
  • LGBT awareness training has been completed by 3 Retail area managers.
  • Awareness month – Pride month June 23 – email sent out to all staff to raise awareness and social media post published to let our community know that we are here for them.
  • Electronic learning platform – All staff completed mandatory Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Level 1 E-Learning.
  • They have a staff member booked onto Tranche 2 of the EMBRACE Facilitator Training, Autumn 2023.

Shrewsbury Homes for All (SHFA) – has signed up and submitted their action plan, with an appointed lead and timeline. Three of the team have taken part in SAND Training – including front line staff who deal first hand with initial contacts.

Shropshire Council website

A huge and complex organisation, SAND has been working particularly with staff in Adult Social Care, Carers Support, Occupational Therapy Team, Leisure Services, Libraries and Social Prescribing. Shropshire Council has:

  • started work on its action plan.
  • developed Terms of Reference for the working group established to implement the plan
  • worked with SAND to provide exhibition space for The Wave Project
  • taken part in the panel for SAND’s Future-proofing event in October 2022
  • supported their Carers’ Support Team Coordinator to take part in the Training for Facilitators

SAND delivers LGBT+ Awareness training through the Council’s Joint Training programme

Two staff members are booked onto Tranche 2 of the EMBRACE Facilitator Training, Autumn 2023.

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care System (ICS) – website

The ICS is a vast partnership of NHS and local government organisations, alongside independent and voluntary sector groups. It focuses on health and care services to meet current and future needs across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin. The partnership includes Robert Jones Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals (see the full list here).

The ambition of the ICS is to develop and implement an action plan – engaging LGBT+ staff networks, E & D group and at Board level. To this end, the ICS has, to date:

  • drafted a skeleton Action Plan to be worked up with their internal LGBT+ Networks and have produced a cyclical review plan aiming to engage the necessary parties to ensure the action plan is resourced and implemented.
  • part-funded the development of the Training for Facilitators and filled 2 places (from RJAH and the Community Health Trust) on the first tranche.

As part of this, the CEO of RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital and their trained facilitator have been meeting to plan rolling out training to all 1600 staff to increase awareness of older and old LGBT+ people and the specific issues they may face. They are also discussing developing ‘guardians’ to increase capacity and assist this process.

SPIC (Shropshire Partners in Care) website

is a ‘care association’ representing approximately 240 independent Nursing, Residential, Supported Living and Domiciliary Care providers in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Since signing up to the Covenant, SPIC has

  • submitted their Action Plan
  • part funded the development of our Training for Facilitators programme
  • their Training Officer took part in the first tranche of the Training for Facilitators
  • met with SAND to discuss how they can take the learning forward
  • promoted SAND events in their e-newsletter
  • begun shaping ideas for a resource around ‘Developing Good Practice Guides for Social care in Shropshire’

Springcare Limited – has recently signed the Covenant. We look forward to working with them over the coming months

STAR Housing have submitted their action plan and one of their team took part in the Training for Facilitators programme. They have also taken part in our LGBT+ Awareness Training.

They say “At STAR Housing, we wholeheartedly believe in fostering a Culture of Inclusion throughout our communities. Since our commitment to the Covenant, we have taken active steps to engage our communities and staff in meaningful discussions. We understand that for older people things can be even harder and the demographic of our residents makes this an even bigger concern to us, we are working with partners to make everyone within our communities feel free to express their true self and feel safe. By initiating conversations and prominently displaying informational posters in our community rooms, newsletter, website and socials we aim to educate and inspire others about the significance of the SAND Covenant. Although our plans are still taking shape, we are dedicated to ensuring a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.”

The Hive has just signed up and we re looking forward to working with them over the coming months

Morris Care – providing both home and residential care, signed up to the Covenant early in 2023 and have developed their Action Plan. A staff member took part in SAND’s LGBT+ Awareness Training in June 2023 and 2 staff members are booked onto Tranche 2 of the EMBRACE Facilitator Training, Autumn 2023.

They say: We are fairly new to introducing the Covenant and commitments we have made. As part of sharing our planned actions we have found that the managers are very interested and really want to be able to adopt any strategies they can to support and explore unmet needs with residents. We have seen many embrace this and plans to look at how we can support and care plan much more effectively with the individuals involvement in relation to any unmet needs they have been welcomed. Learning has already begun about how to have conversations and develop personalised care plans, whilst materials have also been shared and displayed in the homes, that SAND has made available.

Wrekin Housing Group website

Wrekin provides over 13,000 homes for affordable rent and low cost home ownership across Shropshire, Staffordshire and Telford & Wrekin. They also deliver domiciliary care for the elderly, supported housing, as well as dementia nursing care.

Since signing up to the Covenant, Wrekin:

  • has written and started implementing, their action plan.
  • commissioned SAND to deliver LGBT+ awareness training to over 100 of their staff
  • two staff members, in Learning & Development roles have taken part in the Training for Facilitators programme and are now delivering SAND training
  • worked with SAND to provide space to deliver its facilitators training programme
  • committed to delivering inclusion training to over 1,000 employees
  • one member of staff is engaged in the SAND Action Group
  • regularly review policies and the impact of those policies on the LGBT+ community
  • their lead for the Covenant took part in our panel at the Future-proofing event
  • have an proactive LGBT+ staff network group.