We are pleased to welcome you to ‘Pride in Care’, the national conference organised by Opening Doors London, Britain’s leading organisation providing support and services to older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

While there have been substantial achievements in legislative and human rights for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) people, there is a body of evidence documenting continued concerns about the accessibility, inclusiveness and safety of health and social care provision for this significant population of service users.

Achieving equality for LGBT+ people requires us all to think differently about how services are provided and managed. Fortunately, getting it right doesn't need to have huge financial cost, as much can be achieved through greater staff awareness of older LGBT+ people’s needs, building the confidence and skills to engage more effectively with older LGBT+ service users and having the mechanisms in place to manage the service quality of inclusion. 

This conference provides an opportunity to take stock of where we have got to in responding to the health and social care needs of older LGBT+ people, and shares lessons from the work of Opening Doors London and our partners to help identify new approaches to service delivery and equip you with tools and resources to strengthen future service development.


  • Arrivals and Registration

  • Welcome and Overview

  • Where are we now?: Older LGBT+ people in London

    For the past 18 months Jenny Wildblood has led an evaluation of ODL, with support from evaluation team members, Professor Kathryn Almack and Graham Gardiner. The evaluation has included talking to ODL members, volunteers, staff and other stakeholders. Our findings highlight the unique concerns and experiences of our older LGBT+ communities. These have relevance for ODL and for wider service provision to ensure service provision that addresses issues of ageing, health, and wellbeing for older LGBT+ people and in particular, those most at risk from health, social, and economic disparities.

    The presentation will bring together ODL evaluation data and wider research to illustrate the needs and issues of older LGBT+ people in London and, and reveal the gaps in service provision.

    • Professor Kathryn Almack, Professor of Health and Family Lives in the School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire
    • Jenny Wildblood, Independent Consultant and Trainer
  • Listening to older LGBT voices

    Dr Jane Traies will chair a conversation with a small group of ODL members.  As part of this, she will talk about being an older lesbian, Ramses Underhill-Smith will talk about being trans and black, and Dr Rebecca Jones will talk about ageing and bisexual identities.

  • Q&A

  • Break

  • Meeting new, emerging and unmet needs: An overview

    ODL is committed to working with partners to address the needs of older people from the LGBT+ communities.  Alice Wallace, Director of ODL, will introduce this next section of the morning which will talk about two specific needs and how ODL is working with others to address them.

  • Dementia & the ODL response: Memory cafe

    Michael Parish will talk about supporting older LGBT+ people with dementia and ODL’s own initiative, the Memory Café.

  • Cancer & the ODL response: Pilot project with Prostate Cancer UK

    Dr Ben Thomas will talk about what ODL is doing to support members of the older LGBT+ communities affected by cancer.

    • Dr Ben Thomas, Professor of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University
  • Housing

    Julia Shelley, author of the Stonewall Housing report ‘Building Safe Choices: Older Housing Futures’, will speak to key themes of the report and introduce Anna Kear, the new Chief Executive of Tonic Housing, who will explain their work to date in development of specialist housing solutions for older LGBT+ people.

  • Facilitated Q&A

  • Lunch

  • Confidence to care

    Because older LGBT+ people are more likely to live alone, with much less family support than heterosexual people, they become more reliant on relationships with their health and social care professionals. Yet for all the tangible improvements in legal rights, many health and social care professionals admit to being uncomfortable exploring LGBT+ people’s needs and say their training has not given them the knowledge, skills and experience to provide the quality of care and support they would wish to.

    • Jim Glennon, Training and Consultancy Manager, Opening Doors London
  • The business case for equality: Video link with SAGE USA

    Dr Tim Johnston will speak about SAGE’s experience of delivering training on LGBT+ issues and the difference this has made to mainstream organisations. He will share his thoughts on why organisations need to ensure their staff are aware of :

    • The needs and experience of older LGBT+ people in both the design and delivery of services
    • The risks of ignoring equality legislation  
    • Management oversight on quality standards and management signalling no-tolerance of LGBT+ prejudice

    • Dr Tim Johnston, Director of National Projects, Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders
  • Q&A

  • Discussion groups

    • Mental Health

      Research shows that LGBT+ people continue to experience poorer mental health and poorer experiences when accessing care and treatment than their heterosexual counterparts. Dr Ben Thomas will be leading a discussion around improving the mental health and wellbeing of older LGBT+ people and what we can do to improve common mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and stress and the negative impacts of discrimination and marginalisation.

      • Dr Ben Thomas, Professor of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University
    • Dementia

      This workshop offers an opportunity to talk about  the additional challenges experienced by LGBT+ people affected by dementia and how we can work together to better support this population.

    • Developing Quality Standards for Older LGBT+ Care

      What does quality mean in older LGBT+ care and how can we measure this effectively when cultural issues such as the ‘attitudes and values’ of staff may be just as important to clarify as the customer satisfaction ratings of clients?

      This interactive workshop briefs participants on the range of LGBT+ initiatives available - including Opening Doors London Pride in Care - and shares case studies of organisations who have used the kitemark approach to improve quality of life for their older LGBT+ clients.

      • Jim Glennon, Training and Consultancy Manager, Opening Doors London
    • Intersectionality and older LGBTQ+ people

      There is a growing body of research into the specific needs of older LGBTQ+ people. At ODL we think it is imperative to recognise that LGBTQ+ people come from a wide variety of communities and have diverse and varied needs, some more critical than others. This workshop explores how ODL brings an intersectional approach to our work and seeks to engage our members, volunteers and the general public with an understanding of micro-community issues of others that their own life-experience might not have given them.

      • Chryssy Hunter, Volunteer Coordinator, Opening Doors London
    • Influencing Joint Strategic Needs Assessments

      The health and social care needs of older LGBT+ people remain largely undocumented. This workshop will look at how to influence the content of local Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and ensure older LGBT+ people are at the heart of Health and Wellbeing strategies and commissioning plans. ODL has been working with boroughs across London and are sharing best practice from across the UK. 

      • David Woodhead, Health and Social Care Consultant
    • Living longer with HIV

      This workshop will look at the physical and emotional impact of HIV including:

      • What does living longer with HIV mean
      • How does it impact
      • Quality of life issues
      • The rise in HIV diagnosis and STIs in the over-50s
      • Relationship between HIV and other multi morbidities

      • Adrian Beaumont, Members Services Coordinator, Opening Doors London
    • Social Isolation

      While ageing inevitably presents different challenges and opportunities for all individuals, getting older can be much more complex for LGBT+ people. In addition to having lived through a history of extensive prejudice and persecution, older LGBT+ people are more likely to age alone with a vastly different personal support structure around them than their heterosexual peers. This workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about the barriers which might prevent older LGBT+ people accessing mainstream services, as well as learning more about the services provided by ODL.

      • Paul Webley, Befriending Coordinator, Opening Doors London
  • Break

  • Feedback: Pointers for the future

  • Keynote

    Dr Justin Varney will talk about the importance of valuing the diversity of our communities, acknowledging that providing personalised care services requires us all to think differently about how services are provided and managed, and considering how we rise to the challenge ahead of building consensus at senior levels in organisations to ensure that staff better understand the particular needs and challenges of older people within the LGBT+ communities.

    • Dr Justin Varney, National Lead for Adult Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England
  • Launch of the ODL ‘Pride in Care’ quality standard

    ODL is very pleased to welcome Prof Martin Green OBE of Care England to launch ‘Pride in Care’, our new registered quality standard, which will be awarded to health and social care organisations demonstrating the highest standards of older LGBT+ inclusivity throughout London and beyond.

  • Drinks Reception

  • Close


Jeffrey Weeks photo

Professor Jeffrey Weeks

Chair, Opening Doors London Board

Jeffrey Weeks has been chair of the ODL board of trustees si...
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Kathryn Almack photo

Professor Kathryn Almack

Professor of Health and Family Lives in the School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire

Kathryn Almack is Professor of Health and Family Lives in th...
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Jane Traies photo

Dr Jane Traies

Author and Oral Historian

Jane Traies is the author of The Lives of Older Lesbians: Se...
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Ramses Underhill-Smith photo

Ramses Underhill-Smith

Managing Director, Alternative Care Services

Ramses lived in New York for over 10 years where he owned se...
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Rebecca Jones photo

Dr Rebecca Jones

Senior Lecturer in Health, The Open University

Rebecca Jones is bisexual and nearly old enough to join Open...
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Alice Wallace photo

Alice Wallace

Director, Opening Doors London

Alice is the Director of Opening Doors London. She prev...
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Michael Parish photo

Michael Parish

Carer and Activist

Michael Parish is a carer for his partner who has a diagnosi...
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Sally Knocker photo

Sally Knocker

Facilitator, Opening Doors London

Sally Knocker facilitates the Opening Doors London monthly...
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Ben Thomas photo

Dr Ben Thomas

Professor of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University

Dr Ben Thomas is Professor of Mental Health and Learning Dis...
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Jim Glennon photo

Jim Glennon

Training and Consultancy Manager, Opening Doors London

Jim Glennon has twenty years of experience in the developmen...
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Tim Johnston photo

Dr Tim Johnston

Director of National Projects, Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders

Tim R Johnston PhD is the Director of National Projects at S...
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Justin Varney photo

Dr Justin Varney

National Lead for Adult Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England

As the National Lead for Adult Health and Wellbeing at Publi...
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Martin Green OBE photo

Professor Martin Green OBE

Chief Executive, Care England

Martin Green has had an extensive career in NGO development,...
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Julia Shelley photo

Julia Shelley

Author, Building Safe Choices

Julia Shelley is Treasurer of Opening Doors London and a me...
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Anna Kear photo

Anna Kear

CEO, Tonic Housing

As Executive Director of UK Cohousing for the past two years...
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Roberts Building 
University College London
Torrington Place

Tel: 020 7679 7062


The Roberts Building is opposite Waterstones bookshop on Torrington Place.


The nearest tube stations are Euston Square (Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan and Circle lines), Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines), Euston (Northern and Victoria lines) and Russell Square (Piccadilly line). For more information go to  www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/public-transport.


Contact Us

Opening Doors London have appointed Glasgows to assist in the event's organisation and the registration process. 

If you have queries relating to the programme and content, please contact Opening Doors London at louise.carolin@openingdoorslondon.org.uk or call on 020 7239 0449.