Cheshire Freemasons - hospice grants

Patients from the LGBTQ+ community who wish to access hospice care will receive better support after a grant of £22,000 from Cheshire Freemasons.

The grant, in partnership with Hospice UK, will benefit patients at St Luke’s Hospice in Winsford as well Hospice of The Good Shepherd in Backford and East Cheshire Hospice in Macclesfield.

The project aims to improve accessibility by ensuring support is truly inclusive and meets the needs of all patients.

Research shows many LGBTQ+ people avoid accessing health and social care services because of a fear of discrimination or a history of negative experiences.

The three hospices in Cheshire want to remove this fear for LGBTQ+ people.

Kate Estcourt, director of care at St Luke’s Hospice, said: “We’re extremely grateful for this grant, which will help members of the LGBTQ+ community who want to access our services feel like they have a safe, supportive, and welcoming space to do so.

“Palliative and end of life care is about having one chance to get it right.

“So it’s really important people from all communities feel comfortable and are able to talk about everything that’s important to them, including their gender identity and sexuality.”

LGBTQ+ facilitator Ellen Coleman will guide, support and offer training for staff in the three hospices across Cheshire to improve their approach and make them more accessible.

This includes providing additional resources, making policy changes and ensuring any paperwork is inclusive.

Each hospice has also appointed LGBTQ+ champions for this project who will be trained in order to raise the level of staff knowledge around how best to support LGBTQ+ patients.

The grant from Cheshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Harry Wright, from Cheshire Freemasons, said: “I’m very pleased we’re supporting this vital project which is working hard to help more members of the LGBTQ+ community feel like they are welcome to access health services and support.

“Although it’s a great shame that there is still a need for this kind of work, I’m very glad that these three hospices are reinforcing their commitment to treat all patients with respect, regardless of their sexuality or gender.”

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