Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice won a prestigious Hospice UK Award on Thursday 21 November, for its commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.

The Selly Park-based charity took home the esteemed ‘Tackling Inequalities’ gong at the Hospice UK conference in Liverpool, for its volunteer-led service ‘Support at Home’.

Hospice UK – which is the national charity for hospices – praised the service for its commitment to breaking down barriers for individuals who might struggle to access hospice care, such as people from BAME communities.

Support at Home is a befriending service, helping to reduce social isolation for individuals living with life-limiting illness across Birmingham and Sandwell. The service sees trained volunteers visit people in their own home to offer friendly companionship and a listening ear, as well as provide support to families and carers too.

The service is breaking down barriers for harder-to-reach communities by having a diverse group of volunteers who speak multiple languages and practice different faiths, ensuring the Hospice can provide culturally specific social support to the people it cares for.

Vicky Ross, Head of Family and Carer Support at the Hospice, said: “Winning this award is a real honour for the Hospice and we are delighted to be recognised for tackling inequalities in hospice care.

“Unfortunately, studies still show that people who are living with life-limiting illness and are from a BAME background can miss out on the care and support they need at the end of life. There’s a number of different reasons for this, including lack of cultural and religious sensitivity, fear of discrimination and absence of translation resources. With our diverse volunteer group who speak 19 languages and practice six faiths, along with our commitment to building relationships with community and religious groups, we are ensuring that more local people can receive the care and support they deserve at the end of life.”

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is the largest independent hospice in Birmingham, caring for and supporting 500 people every day. This year, the Hospice is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

To find out more about the Hospice’s services, including Support at Home, take a read here