Birmingham conference to focus on compassion

Employers puts compassion at the heart of support for staff

Employers across Birmingham are being invited to join a special online conference as part of an initiative to make it the country’s first officially-recognised compassionate city.

National charity Compassionate Communities UK (CC-UK) will host the Birmingham Compassionate City Charter ­ – Employers Conference on Thursday, 17th February 2022 between 10am-4pm. The event is designed to support businesses and other organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforces.

A compassionate community is one where people actively encourage and support one another during life’s most challenging times such as those relating to serious illness, death and bereavement, and the charity’s accreditation has already been awarded to the Staffordshire communities of Whittington and Fisherwick and Brereton and Ravenhill.

Organisations from Birmingham including charities, community groups, public sector bodies, schools, universities and hospices are now working together with CC-UK to ensure that Birmingham becomes the first city to be awarded City Charter status as the charity spreads its learning nationwide.

Dr Emma Hodges, CEO at St Giles Hospice and Business Development Director for CC-UK, said: “Employers have a unique position in someone’s life, whether that is an employee living with a serious illness or a member of their family, or a friend or colleague. Companies are, or can be, compassionate communities both internally and within their locality.

“Employers are able to make significant differences to the memories of those who live on, not just by having modern compassionate leave policies, but also culturally ensuring that colleagues of those who are ill or grieving are confident in their role as part of someone’s natural support network.

“We’d like to invite local employers to join us in being part of a multi-sector, growing group of people committed to Birmingham becoming a compassionate city and to consider the opportunities and benefits to employers in addition to the wellbeing of their workforce.”

The conference will feature a number of seminars by guest speakers, along with workshops and discussions.

CC-UK Director Dr Julian Abel will talk about the new model of primary care that he has developed alongside compassionate communities and the profound effects they can have upon the health outcomes of people living within them.

A seminar about the wellbeing of doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and how their experiences can shape compassionate leadership in health and care services will be delivered by Professor Michael West, CBE, Emeritus Professor at Aston University, where he was formerly Executive Dean of Aston Business School.

St Giles Hospice Community Development Manager Ian Leech, who helps communities to better understand end of life care and bereavement support, will share positive and negative stories from people living with a serious illness or who are grieving, to demonstrate the impact that either experience can have on the person and their colleagues.

Dr Emma Hodges will provide insights into some of the challenges and approaches that need to be considered in supporting employees living with a serious illness or who are grieving – especially as many traditional sickness and bereavement policies are often outdated, inflexible and do not always support the individual or the employer in the long run.

The conference is aimed at supporting Birmingham’s work to becoming recognised as a CC-UK Compassionate City but it is also open to a wider audience who may want to consider how their businesses can best improve the relationships within their workforce and communities.

Tickets at £60 (£30 for sole traders) and further information about the event are available from

For more information about St Giles Hospice and the expert care it provides, please visit

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