New conference for Birmingham employers puts compassion at the heart of support for staff

Categories: Community Engagement.

Employers across Birmingham are being invited to join a special online conference as part of an initiative to make it the country’s first officially-recognised compassionate city.

National charity Compassionate Communities UK (CC-UK) will host the Birmingham Compassionate City Charter ­ – Employers Conference on Thursday, 17th February 2022 between 10am-4pm. The event is designed to support businesses and other organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforces.

A compassionate community is one where people actively encourage and support one another during life’s most challenging times such as those relating to serious illness, death and bereavement, and the charity’s accreditation has already been awarded to the Staffordshire communities of Whittington and Fisherwick and Brereton and Ravenhill.

Organisations from Birmingham including charities, community groups, public sector bodies, schools, universities and hospices are now working together with CC-UK to ensure that Birmingham becomes the first city to be awarded City Charter status as the charity spreads its learning nationwide.

Dr Emma Hodges, CEO at St Giles Hospice and Business Development Director for CC-UK, said: “Employers have a unique position in someone’s life, whether that is an employee living with a serious illness or a member of their family, or a friend or colleague. Companies are, or can be, compassionate communities both internally and within their locality.

“Employers are able to make significant differences to the memories of those who live on, not just by having modern compassionate leave policies, but also culturally ensuring that colleagues of those who are ill or grieving are confident in their role as part of someone’s natural support network.

“We’d like to invite local employers to join us in being part of a multi-sector, growing group of people committed to Birmingham becoming a compassionate city and to consider the opportunities and benefits to employers in addition to the wellbeing of their workforce.”

The conference will feature a number of seminars by guest speakers, along with workshops and discussions.

CC-UK Director Dr Julian Abel will talk about the new model of primary care that he has developed alongside compassionate communities and the profound effects they can have upon the health outcomes of people living within them.

A seminar about the wellbeing of doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and how their experiences can shape compassionate leadership in health and care services will be delivered by Professor Michael West, CBE, Emeritus Professor at Aston University, where he was formerly Executive Dean of Aston Business School.

St Giles Hospice Community Development Manager Ian Leech, who helps communities to better understand end of life care and bereavement support, will share positive and negative stories from people living with a serious illness or who are grieving, to demonstrate the impact that either experience can have on the person and their colleagues.

Dr Emma Hodges will provide insights into some of the challenges and approaches that need to be considered in supporting employees living with a serious illness or who are grieving – especially as many traditional sickness and bereavement policies are often outdated, inflexible and do not always support the individual or the employer in the long run.

The conference is aimed at supporting Birmingham’s work to becoming recognised as a CC-UK Compassionate City but it is also open to a wider audience who may want to consider how their businesses can best improve the relationships within their workforce and communities.

Tickets at £60 (£30 for sole traders) and further information about the event are available from

For more information about St Giles Hospice and the expert care it provides, please visit



About St Giles Hospice

St Giles Hospice is a registered charity offering high-quality specialist care free of charge for people living with diseases which are terminal or incurable as well as providing support for their families and carers.

Patients come from across the hospice’s catchment area, which ranges from Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Atherstone in the east, to Cannock in the west – and from Burton and Uttoxeter in the north, to Sutton Coldfield and Coleshill in the south.

Care is offered at the hospice’s centres in Whittington and Sutton Coldfield and in patients’ own homes across the region.

St Giles spends over £10 million a year providing its specialist services and with little more than a third of this funded by the Government, the registered charity relies heavily on donations and income generation from the local community.

About Compassionate Communities UK

Compassionate Communities UK has been developed to work with communities to build compassion as a major value in life, making a difference in the way we treat each other and exploring how the ‘welfare state’ can change to support communities.

The charity is dedicated to elevating compassion as a primary value in life with the ethos that love, laughter and friendship help us to be healthier, happier and to live longer.

Its work implements strategies to address the consequences of ageing, serious illness, caregiving, or loss – complementing the efforts of health promotion activities in national communities through civic engagement and community development, public education, and changes to the social and policy environment.

Its training, consultancy, membership and unique accreditation programme can help communities at any level understand and work towards the benefits of embracing compassion.

The Compassionate Community Charter Award is an accreditation particularly recognising that caring for one another at times of crisis and loss is not simply a task solely for health and social services but is everyone’s responsibility.

For more information visit:

(Note that the website is currently being redesigned)

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