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Hospice UK’s Hospice Care Week is an opportunity to shine a light on the incredible work of hospices across the UK in opening up end of life care for all. Over 200 hospices work tirelessly to make sure that everyone can benefit from brilliant end of life care.

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How can ED&I benefit hospice care?

"It is important to establish a network of engagement where all communities are represented."

Stephanie Barwick, CEO, ellenor Hospice.

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ellenor is the provider of all-encompassing hospice care for both adults and children living in North Kent and Bexley. Their recent work on equality, diversity and inclusion is a great example of how hospices can engage with a wide range of communities across their area.

Originally through Hospice UK’s partnership with the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF, the freemasons’ charity), ellenor received £30,000 to reach a goal of focusing on equality, diversity and inclusion for staff, patients and volunteers.

The role was originally funded by MCF, and demonstrating their commitment to this, ellenor hospice now fully fund the role themselves. This is vital to help ensure that hospice care is available for everyone in the area.

Engaging with communities

Commitment to recognising and valuing people’s differences, while promoting an inclusive environment for everyone, is a key value to ellenor, who offer support to around 280,000 people in their local communities.

They have also been able to work within local communities to raise awareness of what a hospice is and what services they provide. This in turn supports their commitment to recognise and value people’s differences and promote a completely inclusive environment. 

The original funding enabled Anna Willson, an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, to work with the hospice and develop an outreach programme.

The programme included the support of local organisations who represented groups historically left out of the conversation, and helps tackle the barriers to hospice care faced by these groups.

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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

“We're designing a number of outreach programmes with a selection of minority groups, such as our local Sikh population or our LGBTQ+ community, plus several other minority groups."

Anna Willson, EDI Consultant, ellenor.

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Engagement as a blueprint

The introduction of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant has helped ellenor find new ways to reach the wide array of communities it serves.

But ellenor are keen to share simple ways for hospices to engage with communities that can be used as a framework for hospices across the UK.

Their advice is to simply begin engaging with more people in communities, with an open, transparent desire to learn and to make time to understand people’s cultures. Not knowing the answers does not have to stop you.

ellenor also advise researching key groups or community leaders that represent local groups and encourage reaching out to them. 

Anna Willson added: 

“It’s incredibly important if you want your service to reflect the vast range of communities and cultures within your local area. 
“We are proud of what we do for our population, but we also know that we could reach more of the people that live locally but don’t currently access our care. 
“In order to break down some of these barriers, we know that ongoing engagement with the diverse communities we serve is key.”

In the long term, ellenor hopes to engage with their local community and our workforce to find out what matters to them, whilst valuing people's differences and promoting a completely inclusive environment for everyone.