Last week, I was honoured to host a storytelling night with the theme of LGBT and Ageing. Five inspiring people stood up and shared a story about their life as LGBT older people in Bristol. Some of these focussed on their experiences as LGBT individuals, but, as one speaker noted, their lives are more than just those 4 initials and that LGBT is not one homogenous group. We have recently invited tenders to deliver an LGBT Community Development for Older People Project and we are keen to make sure that what is delivered is right for the people that use it. A key aspect of all of BAB’s work is that older people should be at the heart of everything we do and in the delivery of this project I would expect the delivery partners to listen and evolve the work based on user input.
When we were developing the application for what would become BAB, we started to identify specific groups that were most at risk of isolation and loneliness, older LGBT people being one of them. As we deliver the programme, we continue to consider these 8 identified groups and think about how we can make positive actions to support them to engage with services.
We have continued to be proactive about including at-risk groups in our services, commissioning specific projects to support this and reviewing our own work to ensure that we are best supporting these groups. We have recently reviewed the applications to the Community Kick-Start Fund to see if there are any barriers to applying for BME groups. We were pleased to discuss that there is a marginally higher rate of approval for BME groups than applications in general.
When we commissioned our Group work and Peer Support pilots we particularly encouraged applications from organisations that supported older people within our at-risk groups and we continue to find ways to ensure that these groups can engage with the services we are commissioning. This learning will be important when we recommission services in the Autumn and our Community Researchers are already undertaking research around this specifically with projects in care homes.
We would like to invite you to find out more about other groups we are currently supporting on the BAB Voices section of our website. This will also be the space where we will be sharing podcasts from our speakers at our LGBT & Ageing event soon.
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