Seven hospices based in the Midlands who work together as the Midlands Community Engagement Network attended Birmingham Pride as a group last weekend. Gemma Allen, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Mary Stevens Hospice, explains how they did it.
The Midlands Community Engagement Network is made up of Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge, St Giles Hospice in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham St Mary’s and John Taylor Hospice in Birmingham, Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull, Compton Care in Wolverhampton, and St Richards in Worcester.
The group wanted to support the LGBT community, representing individual hospices and demonstrating partnership working, whilst promoting the message of supporting all communities to ensure everyone has access to good palliative and end of life care. The group aspired to raise awareness of hospice care in a non-discriminatory way, promoting and celebrating equality and diversity of the LGBT community.
A float was hired and over seventy members of staff and volunteers from the seven hospices attended on the day. The key message ‘Preparing for tomorrow, living for today’ was emblazoned across banners on the float, and over a thousand stickers were handed out asking people how they would like to be remembered.
In addition, a hospice heart selfie board was used with the hashtag #HospicePride to encourage engagement via social media – other hospice Pride events across the UK have since asked to adopt this.
The group has now been approached to work with other hospices next year and plan future collaborative events together. The event demonstrated enriched engagement with the LGBT community, and internal feedback has been extremely positive.
Birmingham Pride offered a valuable opportunity to work collaboratively between hospices with persons working in similar community development roles, all dedicated to widening the reach and access of palliative and end of life care for the LGBT community.