Safe Ageing No Discrimination (SAND) is a community organisation whose goal is to improve the experiences and increase the expectations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) people as they age in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin.
It formed in 2012, when a group of local people began discussing some of the issues which specifically affect LGBT+ people as they age; issues which are not typically recognised by the people who provide health, social care and other relevant support services in the county. SAND set about changing this - not to provide distinct LGBT+ services, but to influence existing service provision.
SAND is currently in the fourth year of a five-year project to encourage service providers across the county to ‘EMBRACE A Culture of Inclusion’. These service providers do this by signing up to SAND's Covenant, which includes five pledges, such as providing the best possible service to older and old LGBT+ people, learning what life might have been like for older and old LGBT+ people, and vocally and visually supporting groups working with and for older and old LGBT+ people.
Organisations which have signed up to SAND's Covenant include the VCSA, Shropshire Council, AgeUK STW, Citizens Advice Shropshire, Energize, Cruse Bereavement Services, Shropshire Partners in Care and many others.
This year, SAND is hoping to reach out to as many older and old LGBT+ people who live, work or play in the county to tell the story of the work it has been doing. To help with this, it has produced a 16-page booklet called SAND Matters. You can download it here, or request a hard copy by emailing James (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call them on 01743 590023 and leave a message on their answerphone.
Perhaps you know someone who might benefit from learning about SAND's work? If you do, please spread the word by sharing this article and/or helping them to download or order the SAND Matters booklet.
If you would like to know more about SAND's work, visit lgbtsand.com, sign up to their monthly e-newsletter, or follow them on social media (@lgbtsand).