No one should face cancer alone
This ground breaking support project began in 2011 as collaboration between Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (OPAALUK) and Macmillan Cancer Support and is now being offered by the Beth Johnson Foundation across the whole of Staffordshire/Stoke on Trent and Wolverhampton.
The Beth Johnson Foundation has a long history of providing advocacy for older people and of working with volunteers. The Foundation employs five Volunteer Co-ordinators who are each responsible for promoting the project in their own area in order to acquire referrals and to attract people to become volunteer advocates.
The Co-ordinators aim to recruit and train older people who themselves have been affected by cancer, to provide support to their peers. Initial induction and training is provided and the volunteer advocates are offered regular supervision and group peer support with an ongoing training programme.
Advocates support and enable people to exercise their rights, express their views, explore and make informed choices. They aim to be the “voice” of the older person, are non-judgemental and make sure those they support are heard and their views and opinions are acted upon.
The issues addressed by the advocates have been wide ranging from supporting patients with oncology appointments to helping someone discharged from hospital to find sheltered accommodation.
People who have been supported by an advocate have said:
‘I don’t think I’d be here if I didn’t have the support as I didn’t have the fight or the will’
‘The service is fantastic, the things organised have been second to none’
‘I don’t know how I would have coped if it wasn’t for you’
If you are interested in training to be an advocate or would like to refer someone to the project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01782 844036