In May we were given the fantastic opportunity to present the Cancer Older People and Advocacy project to Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan, and John Pearson, Executive Director Cancer Support Operations. Lynda and John were visiting the North West and it was decided by the Service Development Team that the best way to showcase all the local initiatives was by holding a stallholder event.
I arrived at the event, complete with our specially purchased display board, packed with information about the project and the publications we have produced. Each stall holder had 5 minutes to present their project and the stalls were arranged in order of the cancer journey. It was fascinating to hear about all the inspiring innovative projects that exist but a little frustrating that we couldn’t access them because of their boundaries. Lynda and John listened to each presentation and then were given the chance to ask questions. One of the main themes they focused upon was the way in which the learning from each project could be shared in other parts of the country.
I ended my presentation with a quote from a service user. This lady had told me that without the support of an advocate her situation was so desperate she would have committed suicide. The impact of this statement was evident around the room and I think it emphasised for them the importance of advocacy. John was interested in where we got our referrals from and he offered to put us in touch with contacts he has in The Silverline and other voluntary organisations. We will be following up his interest in the project and keeping him informed as to how it develops.
Helen Vernon, Sefton Pensioners Advocacy Centre