We funded a new partnership between Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice (GBCH) and equality and diversity charity METRO, which aims to support more LGBTQ+ people – particularly those without a partner, carer, or family support.
For older LGBTQ+ people, the discrimination and trauma of the 20th century casts a long shadow, leaving many still reluctant to engage with their local health and social services. And whilst some may believe that institutionalised discrimination of queer people is a thing of the past, the sad reality is that mistreatment when accessing healthcare is still common for people of all ages. In fact, a recent government survey of LGBTQ+ people revealed that 16 per cent had had a negative experience while trying to access public health services. The result? Many members of the community are effectively being denied access to vital services they are entitled to.
Hospices offer a unique and invaluable service to people reaching the end of their life. Not only do they provide physical care and the help needed to maintain as much independence as possible, they also offer financial, spiritual, physical, and emotional support.
GBCH became aware that LGBTQ+ people were underrepresented amongst the people they care for, but lacked the expertise to tackle the issue. The MCF’S £17,000 grant will enable a community engagement specialist from METRO to immerse themselves in the work of the hospice and put into practice a strategy which will widen access to their care and support. As well as increasing awareness of the services available and building links with local LGBTQ+ organisations who can refer people to the hospice, this grant will also improve care by funding specialist training for staff.
London Freemason Gary Neilson recently met with GBCH’s Jon Devlin – who will be leading the project – to learn more about the hospice and how Freemasonry’s support will make a difference.