Outrage as hospice ‘bans’ fundraising group following Welsh language row
A hospice has been accused of banning a fundraising group from engaging with it following a row about the Welsh language.
Outraged Welsh speaking supporters of Nightingale House Hospice (Hospis Ty’r Eos) in Wrexham, say they have been “banned from further interaction” with the charity after voicing concerns about its “lack of respect” towards the language.
But the hospice says that it was “left with no alternative but to cut ties with the group” because the situation had “escalated to a position” where its employees where “distressed and in tears as a result of interactions” with it.
According to John Morris, a supporter of the hospice, the group of Welsh speakers had raised concerns that correspondence sent out by the charity was only written in English, and did not include a Welsh language translation.
He claims that these concerns were met with “resistance” from the charity’s trustees. This he said has resulted in the charity cutting ties with the group all together.
He says the group received a letter from the Chief Executive and Board of Trustees which thanked them for their 30 year contribution to the cause but which added “this is the end of our communications”.
Morris told North Wales Live that the group is “genuinely hurt and offended” by the letter.
He said: “The group considers that the ban imposed on Welsh speakers is an attempt to isolate and humiliate them.
“The reluctance of the trustees to change conveys a complete lack of awareness, respect and blatant disregard for the Welsh language.
“The imposition of a ban on Welsh speaking supporters is totally unacceptable and justifies an urgent enquiry.”
The statement from the hospice said: “Regrettably the situation escalated to a position where employees of the Hospice were left distressed and in tears as a result of interactions with members of this group and the Hospice was left with no alternative but to cut ties with the group concerned.
“This was not a decision taken lightly as the Hospice needs the help of as many fundraisers as possible, but it also has a duty to its employees to protect their mental health and well-being together with its duties to operate the Hospice in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations.
“Anybody who simply wishes to raise funds to support the work of the Hospice is more than welcome to do so, including members of the group in question, but the Hospice cannot engage with individuals or groups who seek to place operational conditions on their support for the Hospice.”
A spokesperson for Nightingale House has denied that the hospice not supportive of the Welsh language, saying: “the Hospice is very proud of its record in using the Welsh language whenever it can.
“Whenever possible the Hospice’s publications are produced in English and Welsh and the Hospice seeks to engage in Welsh with as many of its patients and families who wish to do so.”
‘Due to the cost’
On the complaint about the hospice’s Spring 2021 newsletter not including a Welsh translation, the statement said: “The print version of that newsletter was only produced in English due to the cost of producing additional printed copies in Welsh. This complaint was received at a time when the Hospice, along with all other charities, was experiencing the most difficult of times in raising funds to enable its primary services to continue operating.
“The Hospice did though produce digital versions of the same newsletter in Welsh and English and made these available to the public online.
“However, the individual concerned pursued the matter in correspondence with the Hospice and escalated it to the extent that the Hospice’s Chair of Trustees was singled out for inappropriate comment and the Hospice was forced to instruct solicitors to deal with the issue.
“The Hospice has nothing to hide or fear in relation to its use of the Welsh language and wishes to be entirely transparent about this matter.
“In an attempt to be transparent, the Hospice’s solicitors have asked the individual who is pursuing the complaint for permission to put all the correspondence in the public domain, but he has not responded to that request.
“Whilst the Hospice feels that criticism of its use of the Welsh language is unwarranted and unfair, it is particularly sad that the matter has been pursued in the way it has.
“This has caused the Hospice’s Board and employees to divert their attention away from the services that are so important to the community and to have to spend their time and resources defending their use of the Welsh language and responding to personally directed comments.”
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