A NEW rainbow badge scheme to promote LGBT+ inclusivity has been launched at Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People.

The initiative aims to show children, young people and their families that Martin House is an open, non-judgemental and inclusive space by encouraging staff to wear rainbow badges.

Michael Tatterton, nurse consultant at Martin House, said: “Wearing a rainbow badge is a way to say to children, young people and their families ‘you can talk to me’.

“It’s a pledge that you are a friendly ear, and while you may not have all the answers to their issues and concerns, you will know how to signpost to other support available.”

The rainbow badge scheme originated at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, and has been introduced at a number of NHS trusts around the country, but Martin House believes it is the first hospice to launch the initiative.

Staff who sign up to wear a rainbow badge will receive training to ensure they are equipped to respond to young people or their families who want to talk about LGBT+ issues.

Grant Stringwell, staff nurse at Martin House, is one of the first to sign up to wear the badge. “It’s really difficult when you are seen as being different, and young people who come to Martin House can be seen in that way most of the time. So it’s important to give the message that we are open and accepting, and they can be themselves when they are here," he said.

Martin House cares for children and young people with life-shortening conditions across West, North and East Yorkshire, as well as supporting their families. Its services include respite stays, emergency care, symptom control and end of life care, as well as bereavement support.

Michael added: “Martin House takes a holistic approach to care, always looking at the whole person in the care we give, and the rainbow badge scheme is just another way for us to demonstrate that this is a safe, supportive environment where people can express themselves freely.”

For more information about Martin House, visit www.martinhouse.org.uk.