Oxfordshire Advocacy (OA) sharing our journey of the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project in Oxfordshire.
We held our first peer advocate training course in house on the 21st July with the next one coming up on the 8th September.
Feedback from attendees
We had a great group of experienced OA volunteers and people new to advocacy and all with their own personal experience of cancer.
Two key questions kept coming up:
- Where do we find all the relevant information to support the people we will be working with? “We were able to reassure the attendees that Macmillan and other local agencies have amazing banks of information which are constantly updated to ensure everyone is able to find out what services are available”. (Naomi Karslake – OA Co-ordinator)
“We also pointed attendees to pages 21-41 of the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance booklet which is a course hand out that ‘Cancer and its impact on Older People’s Lives’ provided the relevant answer to this question.” (Julie Walters – OA Co-ordinator)
- Where do we draw the line between advocacy and befriending? As peer advocates we are sharing their experience in a different way to how we do as a generic advocate. “A support group for Cancer, Older People and Advocacy advocates will be crucial to address many of the issues and questions that arose on the day. We do not as yet have all the answers”. (Naomi Karslake – OA Co-ordinator)
Rosie – “I am 65 and have cancer and faced appointments, results and complaining about practitioners alone.
I was heartened to meet so many compassionate volunteers who will be there to support individuals through the process with the committed project leaders.
“The training will enable me to participate locally and nationally to inform , influence and peacefully persuade others to ensure individuals with cancer are no longer treated as “victims” but as individuals who have rights to information and treatment which they choose by informed consent” (Rosie Young – OA Volunteer)
Keith – “Our first training session – There were about 18 of us. Most of us were retired but nearly a third had yet to reach senior citizen status. Several of Oxfordshire Advocacy co-ordinators joined the group. Naomi our experienced trainer led the group. All of us had either a relative or close friend succumb to cancer or had survived the condition.
First sessions have to get definitions out of the way. We looked at a few case studies. The group was light hearted so we could dwell on helping rather than getting caught up with the enormity of the task. We noted that with increasing life expectancy the numbers of people involved with relatives and friends with malignant disease will increase. We were reminded that other conditions are just as debilitating and fatal as cancer.
The afternoon was delegated as to how advocacy skills could be used and adapted to helping those with loved ones suffering from cancer”. (Keith Beswick – OA Volunteer)
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