Older people are reaping the benefits a year after Shropshire’s leading care provider backed a campaign to improve the lives of LGBQT+ people in the county.

Coverage Care Services, which runs 11 care homes across Shropshire, signed the SAND covenant – a county-wide campaign to highlight the needs of older LGBTQ+ people – a year ago.

The company appointed LGBT+ champions in each of its homes, as well as supporting projects around LGBTQ History Week and Pride Week.

Now, one year on, all of the LGBTQ+ champions have met for a special anniversary celebration at Innage Grange in Bridgnorth.

The occasion was a chance for residents and champions across homes to gather, share information and stories, and reflect on the progress made.

Residents also watched a shortened version of the documentary Gen Silent, which highlights the issues faced by LGBQT+ people as they age.

Chief executive Debbie Price said: “I’m very proud that Coverage Care is leading the way in making our homes more welcoming places for everyone.

“With up to eight per cent of the population thought to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or non-binary, there is likely to be a significant number of people in our homes who are not heterosexual, and it is our responsibility to make sure they enjoy a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment.

“We have made great progress over the past year and I am keen that we develop that even more going forward, with more community engagement and involvement of local people in our events and projects.

“We would love for volunteers to help us support our residents and share their ideas and experiences to help this important work increase its reach and impact.”

SAND – Safe Ageing No Discrimination – is a community organisation which aims to improve the experiences and increase the expectations of LGBT+ people as they age in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

The covenant includes five key pledges:

  • Commit to providing the best possible quality services for older and old LGBT+ people
  • Commit to learning what life can be – and has been – like for different LGBT+ people.
  • Commit to vocally and visually supporting groups working with and for older and old LGBT+ people
  • Commit to creating meaningful opportunities for LGBT+ people and groups to ‘influence’ what you do
  • Commit to assess and evidence change, including work carried out to engage LGBT+ people (within the group/organisation and outside it)

Ahead of the Coverage Care celebration, SAND is running an LGBQT+ festival in Shrewsbury from March 15-17.

For more information about Coverage Care Services and its homes visit https://www.coveragecareservices.co.uk/