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Highland Council to assist hospice and UHI Inverness with application for end-of-life discussion project

By Gregor White

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UHI Inverness and Highland Hospice want to make it easier to talk about and plan for the end of life.
UHI Inverness and Highland Hospice want to make it easier to talk about and plan for the end of life.

Highland Council is to work with UHI Inverness and Highland Hospice to improve their bid for funding assistance for a project aiming to help with engagement over difficult end-of-life conversations.

The college and hospice had sought a grant of £23,145 from the Inverness Common Good Fund for the Caring Conversations initiative which would support people living with advanced illness, families, clinicians and health and social care workers to engage in positive conversations around end of life.

The project aimed to use real conversations relating to palliative and end of life care to inform short plays that would test different approaches to communication around the subject.

A “tool kit” would then be produced to create a learning resource for health and social care stakeholders.

However members of the council’s city of Inverness area committee were recommended to refuse the grant application, on the grounds that the project could be “more appropriately” funded from UHI’s own core funding.

Intervening, however, Inverness West Councillor Bill Boyd suggested an alternative route.

“I think the work they were proposing is very important and we would like to do what we can to support it,” said Councillorllr Boyd, who is one of a number of official older people’s champions on the council.

“The fund has very specific criteria, though, and I think if we could give them help to rework their submission we would certainly be able to think more closely about how we do that.”

On that basis it was agreed that a new submission could be made to the fund.

UHI Inverness was less fortunate, however, when it came to securing support for a second project - its food bank for students.

The college sought £14,000 to buy food for The Larder at the city campus, citing the success of this and other initiatives in reducing the drop-out rate for students.

However councillors agreed to go with a recommendation to refuse this bid for Common Good supporton the basis that it would provide “insufficient community benefit” and “would set a precedent which would not be sustainable.”

A spokesperson for UHI Inverness said: “We’re grateful to the committee members for considering our applications for these projects.

“We will review alternative avenues to ensure the Caring Conversations initiative can achieve its full potential, and we remain committed to maintaining our essential free food provision for our students.”

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