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East Cheshire Hospice has won an award for its pioneering work supporting patients from the LGTBQ+ community.
Just over a year ago the charity linked up with two other hospices – St Luke’s in Winsford and Hospice of The Good Shepherd in Backford – to ensure end-of-life care is fully inclusive.
They appointed Ellen Coleman as LGBTQ+ development facilitator to offer support and training for staff to improve their approach and make them more accessible.
Her work has been so successful that the 12-month scheme has been extended.
The hospices were awarded a Navajo Charter mark in recognition of organisational changes and training which have been implemented.
Sarah Dale, Director of Quality and Innovation at East Cheshire Hospice, said: “We’re delighted to receive the award which we didn’t think we’d achieve in the first year Ellen has been with us. We thought it might take a lot longer.
East Cheshire Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston (second left), Sarah Dale (fourth left) and Ellen Coleman (fifth left) receive the Navajo award with representatives of the two other hospices.
“As a hospice we felt we were doing all we could to be inclusive. There’s never a service we wouldn’t accept anyone into and they’re personalised to fit whatever community, background, race or nationality patients are from.
“What we’ve learned from Ellen is that we need to make it very clear, even from a distance, that our services are making positive changes and that we welcome everyone.
“For different reasons, not everyone feels comfortable accessing our services and so we need to reassure them before they’ve even walked through our doors.
“We’ve still got things we need to work towards to make sure we’re a fully inclusive organisation. There’s definitely more we can change.
“We have more education and training to do for our volunteers and staff. We also need more communication with the wider community to let them know what we’re doing to improve accessibility for the LGBTQ+ community.
“Overall, though, we’re really pleased with what we’ve managed to do in such a short space of time and we look forward to linking in with those communities in the future.”
The Hospice has trained five champions to raise the level of staff knowledge around how best to support LGBTQ+ patients.
A grant from Cheshire Freemans and Hospice UK funded Ellen’s post initially. Sarah said: “We’re just beginning to make these changes across all three hospices in Cheshire, so as a collective we’ve funded Ellen’s post for a further year to continue the great work she’s doing.”Back to all news