Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Celebrating Age in Bristol

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A crisp bright morning on Sunday 26th October saw the launch of Bristol’s ‘Celebrating Age Festival’ at the M-Shed (a three storey, contemporary museum of Bristol social and industrial history) that overlooks the docks in the centre of town. Organised by Age UK Bristol and a consortium of older people’s organisations this launch event took over the whole atrium and exhibition space of the M-Shed with stalls, presentations, and all manner of shows.

Celebrating Age Festival 2015

The Age UK Bristol Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project had a table in the Health Room, sharing a space with our local partners Macmillan Cancer Support, who were there to promote their Buddy scheme, and various other local projects and services. Luckily for us the Macmillan staff member on the stall is actually on the Bristol Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project’s Local Cancer Champions Board (LCCB), so was well able to explain the difference between their various services and that offered to older people affected by cancer by our advocacy project. Very kindly, two other members of the LCCB (Joan Cox & Sue Perry) had offered to man the stall for the day, so were able to give all of the information people needed. The Health Room also had stalls covering a wide range of condition-specific services, such as the Alzheimer’s Society & the Stroke Association, and other organisations interested in older people’s health and well-being, such as HealthWatch and Care Direct.

COPA Project LCCB member Sue Perry explains the project to members of the public

COPA Project LCCB member Sue Perry explains the project to members of the public

After setting up the stall, and a handy half-hour of networking around the room sharing details of the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project and collecting contact details for organisations that would be interested in knowing more, it was time for a quick interview on local radio, which was broadcasting live from the event throughout the morning. A whistle-stop tour through what the service could offer, why the service is needed, and how potential service-users and volunteers could get in touch was livened up by the background noise of a fantastic gentlemen who can ‘sing’ the songs of hundreds of different birds echoing up and down the atrium.

Around 3,000 older people visited the Celebrating Age festival and enjoyed several choirs, a fabulous fashion show for people over 65, indoor cricket, cookery demonstrations as well as being able to collect information on the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy service, Age UK Bristol, and the many other agencies that want to help older people in the city. Although it was hard work it felt well worth it; roll on Celebrating Age 2016!

Ben Sansum, Age UK Bristol

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Author: Marie McWilliams

OPAAL's National Development Officer

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