Our Local Cancer Champions Board, the steering group for Dorset Macmillan Advocacy, changed its name in 2014 to Cancer in Older People Development Group. Members wanted to create a group that could, in addition to overseeing our service at strategic level, bring together people interested in improving patient experience for people over 50 affected by cancer and their carers. They felt that the new name was more self explanatory and we are fortunate to have an interesting mix of people on the group.
As Dorset Macmillan Advocacy is delivered by two organisations in partnership the steering group sought to meet alternately on different sides of the county. Meetings have been hosted since 2014 by Lewis Manning Hospice in Poole and since last year by Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester. We have benefited from learning about the hospices and our presence there has raised our profile with their staff and visitors.
We also invite local guests to the group meetings such as the project lead for the Macmillan Information Scoping Project which took place last year and the director of Dorset Living Well Active, a physical activity project which is a partnership between Macmillan and Sport England. The group can explore joint working at both strategic and operational level and this really enhances the daily networking that staff and volunteer advocates do.
The new Chief Executive of Weldmar Hospice Care Trust, Caroline Hamblett, joined our last meeting in May and described the variety of community services that the hospice provides. Senior Sister Sally-Anne Baverstock then gave the group a tour of the facilities which include 14 in-patient beds all with views over the beautiful garden and countryside beyond. We’ll arrange a visit for our team of volunteer advocates in the near future.
Kathleen Gillett, Dorset Macmillan Advocacy