How time flies, it’s hard to believe it’s been over two months since Sandwell Advocacy hosted the official launch of “Sandwell Cancer, Older People and Advocacy Project” at Sandwell Irish Community Association in The Lodge of Langley Park, a lovely setting in Sandwell on such a beautiful morning.
This date on 26th September may be familiar to you as it is also Macmillan Cancer Supports ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’. Our newly recruited Volunteer Co-ordinator, Juanita Williams has been hosting Coffee mornings since 2006 and suggested this would be a great day to invite partners, colleagues and friends to celebrate this project. The local authority Press Officer came along to photograph and report on the event.
The Mayor of Sandwell, Cllr Derek Rowley and his Consort Mrs Glenis Rowley arrived promptly at 10.00 am and were met by our Chair Lesley Donnelly and Project Manager Dave Bradshaw. They were keen to hear about the project and how it can help Sandwell residents who have been affected by cancer, something he tells us is all too common across the borough. They were informed about the invaluable role that volunteer peer advocates play in this work and additionally who can be referred. As the morning progressed he was able to sit and talk our Local Cancer Champion Board members who joined us. There were many local residents who came out to support the event and they were also interested to hear about the work and many knew of family and friends who would have benefited from the service.
As the morning progressed there was much chatter, drinking of tea and eating of delicious cakes along with a raffle which had been organised and donated by Gayle Pritchard of the local Co-op funeral directors. Gayle is keen to be more involved with the project and is intending to invite our team to attend their regional meeting in order to meet other partners.
Sandwell NHS and local authority Public Health professionals mingled with staff and guests until 1.00pm when we said goodbye to the Mayor and his party.
All in all we felt the launch was a success in raising the profile of the work we do and hope to have inspired some people to join our increasing team of volunteers.
A total of £300 was raised thanks to the generosity of all who attended and the volunteers who stepped up to serve endless refreshments. Hopefully this will become an annual event as our numbers grow.
Juanita Williams, Volunteer Co-ordinator