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Ashgate Hospice > Striving to be inclusive and open to everyone – by Liz Allam and John Yates-Harold
Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Liz Allam and Derbyshire LGBT+’s John Yates Harold on how we are committed to becoming an open and inclusive organisation where everyone is warmly welcomed. 

Liz Allam: "We recognise more must be done"

We are enormously pleased to be working with Derbyshire LGBT+ (known as D+) and to have signed up to its Rainbow Accreditation scheme.

John Yates Harold and the team at D+ have a really supportive and friendly approach – and are keen to get the message across that it’s OK to say you don’t know something, and that they don’t want people to be scared of saying the wrong thing or asking questions.

Their warmth, generosity and expertise has been invaluable in helping us approach this work in an encouraging and positive way. 

Why does inclusion at Ashgate Hospice matter? 

Staff and volunteers at Ashgate are committed to welcoming people from all backgrounds to the organisation as patients, staff, volunteers or supporters – however we know that historically people from LGBT+ communities have experienced discrimination and inequality both within healthcare and in the workplace.   

Research tells us that, even in organisations with good intentions, LGBT+ people can experience barriers accessing services, such as end of life care, due to systemic discrimination and inequality embedded in society and its institutions. 

This can include: 

  • Older LGBT+ people may have experienced hostile treatment in healthcare settings (particularly during the period when being gay was illegal) and be reluctant to seek help. 
  • LGBT+ partners and carers can be excluded from decisions about patient care through assumptions about someone’s sexual orientation; e.g. assuming a woman’s partner will be a man. 
  • Some people may worry about discrimination, or negative reactions to their sexual identity. They might feel they need to hide important parts of their life.  
  • Trans and gender non-conforming people can experience behaviour such as ‘dead-naming’ and misgendering either due to a genuine lack of awareness and understanding or deliberate transphobia. 
What does being part of the Rainbow Partnership Accreditation Scheme mean? 

Despite our past and ongoing commitments to being more LGBT+ inclusive, we recognise that there is more to do. The Rainbow Accreditation scheme sees D+ work with small and large organisations across the county to develop inclusive practices at all staffing levels. Other organisations on the journey to accreditation with us include East Midlands Ambulance Service, Citizens Advice (Derbyshire District) among others.  

The scheme gives us a comprehensive framework to look at every area of our organisation from patient care, to fundraising events and the experience of customers in our shops and cafes. It is an opportunity to evaluate our organisation with honesty and openness, so that we can identify potential barriers and areas for improvement in our LGBT+ inclusion.  

D+ will be alongside us every step of the way to offer their expertise and guidance and we are confident that together, we can work to ensure that everyone in our community feels safe, welcome and valued at Ashgate Hospice.

How we are working to be more LGBT+ inclusive 

With the support of Derbyshire LGBT+ we have taken the following action to ensure we are more LGBT+ inclusive: 

  • D+ awareness training sessions for our workforce. 
  • Joining the Chesterfield Pride celebrations – meeting members of the public and providing information about our services and volunteering opportunities. 
  • Unveiling our ‘rainbow’ crossing outside the hospice last year. 
  • Exploring the use of pronouns in our email signatures. 

John Yates-Harold: “We are proud to be working with Ashgate Hospice”

I am always struck by how welcoming and friendly the Ashgate staff are, and I have always felt a strong connection with Ashgate. As a community, this warm welcome cannot always be guaranteed in other organisations. 

Staff and service users here at Derbyshire LGBT+ tell us stories of their experiences where they have felt uncomfortable, unwelcome and threatened in situations others outside our community may take for granted.

When we find somewhere we feel comfortable and welcome, we will go out of our way to use that service knowing that we will receive the service we need and deserve. While staff at all levels are committed to the journey towards becoming fully LGBT+ inclusive, there is also much work to be done to ensure this is firmly embedded across all Ashgate sites, including shops and cafes.  

We are proud to be working with Ashgate on our Rainbow Partnership Accreditation Scheme. 

Find out more about the scheme