As part of our Flagship application to BIG Lottery we’ve included plans to develop our understanding of the advocacy support needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender older people with cancer.
We always considered that independent advocacy services were openly accessible to all older people. However, at OPAAL’s Members’ Day in September Stacey Halls from Opening Doors London and AgeUK Camden helped us see that maybe we are not as transparently welcoming to the older LGBT community as we thought. Simple things like including the rainbow logo on our service leaflets can make a world of difference, indicating that we’ve given a bit of thought about the needs of the community and are “out” about wanting to support them.
As we mentioned in last week’s blog post about our Flagship application, if successful, we hope to work in partnership with AgeUK Camden and Opening Doors London to develop peer advocacy models to ensure that as many older LGBT people as possible in the areas that the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project is working are supported. We’ll also provide really worthwhile volunteering opportunities to older members of the community, training and supporting them to support their peers affected by cancer.
It really is an exciting time for older people’s cancer advocacy and with the knowledge and understanding we hope to gain from working with Opening Doors London and AgeUK Camden we’ll be able to ensure that we’re encouraging pro-active inclusion across all kinds of advocacy services.