No barriers to end of life care

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.

A project funded by NHS Charities Together will improve care at the end of life for different cultures and communities within the Black Country. The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust is partnering with The Mary Stevens Hospice on the project, called No Barriers Here. It will work alongside people who may be excluded due to identity, culture, ethnicity or race to ensure palliative care services are accessible for all, with greater awareness of different cultures and their needs.

The two-year project will work with people from ethnic minority communities to develop and deliver art workshops to create conversations, so providers of end of life and palliative care have a greater awareness of culturally sensitive issues. This will feed into future practice and strategies, so services are better suited to the communities’ needs.

It is based on a programme the hospice previously co-produced with people with learning disabilities, to encourage and support advance care planning. A film was created from this project which is now being circulated across the UK alongside a series of ‘train the trainer’ workshops.

The Mary Stevens Hospice has taken on an ethnic minority community worker, Elisha Frimpong, who will work alongside partners to reach out and engage with the diverse Dudley community, and raise awareness of palliative and end of life services and the No Barriers Here project.

Gemma Allen, diversity and inclusion lead at the hospice, said:

“Using arts approaches in palliative care can shape rich conversations within our communities and challenge inequalities. Participants in the learning disability project used arts-based methods such as collage, textiles and weaving to shape creative, distinctive and truly personalised advance care plans.

No Barriers Here adopts a public health approach to palliative care whereby we work alongside communities to encourage and empower advance care planning conversations and help people better understand and engage in these conversations.” 

“The project is separated into three workstreams; arts approached workshops, research and education. We hope that this will enable a better understanding of the priorities and needs of people excluded by identity, culture, ethnicity and race at end of life, and that in turn will help health care professionals have better awareness of different cultures and needs within the Dudley population.”

Nithee Kotecha, fundraising and community development lead at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This is an imperative piece of work and, in effect, new research for addressing some of the sensitivities of end of life and palliative care as we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.

The research from this project will enable commissioners, stakeholders, partners and a wider audience to better understand supporting ethnic minority communities in the Dudley borough at end of life, with an increased insight into experiences, needs and concerns when accessing palliative care.”


More than a quarter (26 per cent) of the population of the Black Country is from ethnic minority origins, particularly from the Indian sub-continent and the Caribbean. The national average is nine per cent. There are also significant Polish, Somali and traveller communities, plus refugees and asylum seekers. About four percent of Black Country households have no one who has English as their main language.

Funding has come via the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, a collaboration of organisations across primary care, community services, social care, mental health and acute and specialised services.

For more information about the project please contact Project Lead at The Mary Stevens Hospice Gemma Allen on or
Nithee Kotecha from The Dudley Group NHS Charity on


CAPTION: Elisha Frimpong, ethnic minority community worker at The Mary Stevens Hospice.


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