Back in January 2015 Anna Jones from Macmillan Cancer Support invited us to join her team on MISS Betty – the Macmillan Information Support Service Bus in Victoria Square, Birmingham City Centre.
Although SCOPA is based in Sandwell we are aware that many Sandwell residents visit the city of Birmingham with their families – especially during February half term week, so we accepted their offer and Paddy Elmore and Juanita Williams joined Jez, Karima and Caroline on the afternoon of Tuesday 17th February.
The mobile centre tours the UK, visiting high streets, communities and events to bring free, confidential information and support.
You don’t need an appointment to speak to the cancer information specialists. And you’re welcome whether you have a cancer diagnosis, are worried about cancer or are visiting on behalf of a friend or relative.
The bus was parked up by the Council House, Town Hall and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, over looked by a statue of Queen Victoria and the Floozy in the Jacuzzi!
It was a cold, blustery afternoon but we were greeted by the Macmillan staff with a lovely hot cup of coffee and a smile. Emily Davidson, the Birmingham Macmillan Fundraising Manager was also on board sharing information.
The bus offers clinical, financial, emotional and practical support information from professionals working in the cancer field. Promoting local services is very important to the staff so we took along some of our leaflets and business cards for members of the public. The bus has information on virtually everything you could ask for if you have a question about living with cancer from clinical information to the benefits of gardening and how to cook healthy meals. It’s amazing how many questions people have and nothing is too much trouble for the staff. Sometimes people come on board to share their stories, donate some money or just thank Macmillan for the support they gave to loved ones.
There’s a small cubicle on board where people can have a chat in private with any of the staff and volunteers. It’s a really inviting and friendly set up. People just walk in with all sorts of questions and enquiries. We have met the staff before when they visited Sandwell last year so they are fully aware of the service SCOPA offers.
We hope to join the team again when they are next in the area and hopefully we will have more of our own leaflets to hand out………….. and maybe, just maybe the sun will be shining and it will be a bit warmer …………. You never know!
Juanita Williams, Volunteer co-ordinator, Sandwell Cancer, Older People and Advocacy