Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer


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An exciting night at the HSJ Awards

OPAAL was absolutely delighted some weeks ago to find out that the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme was shortlisted for an HSJ Awards (Health Service Journal) in the Supported Self Care category.

Wednesday last week, November 22nd, saw the awards evening in the Intercontinental Hotel at the O2 in London. I attended along with Bob and Maddy Smith, peer volunteer advocates and Kathleen Gillett, Macmillan project coordinator, all of Dorset Macmillan Advocacy. Also attending as a guest of NHS England was OPAAL Trustee and Vice Chair, Catherine Wood. NHS England, as sponsors of the Supported Self Care category award, hosted two tables and Catherine was seated at one of these and was very well placed centrally, near to the stage.

The night began with a bit of trauma for myself, Bob, Maddy and Kathleen. The Blackwall Tunnel near to the venue had been closed due to a road traffic accident. This led to major disruption on the roads for miles around the area. After an hour and fifty minutes in our cab for a journey which should have taken thirty, we arrived late and having missed the opening speeches. Fortunately after wolfing down our starters we caught up with every one else at our table. All had been nominated for awards although not in the same category as us.

Catherine, Maddy, Marie and Kathleen

Marie, Kathleen at the back with Bob and Maddy in front

Sir Lenny Henry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a lovely meal the awards started in earnest. Hosted by the wonderful Sir Lenny Henry, the excitement for us mounted and mounted. Our category was midway through the programme so we had a bit of time to wait to find out the result.

I was so hopeful that our name would be called out as winner. Being nominated and shortlisted was a real achievement but at OPAAL we were so keen that our wonderful peer volunteers and cancer champions be nationally recognised by this award.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. First Steps Derbyshire’s Online Befriending Service was the name called out rather than ours. Whilst disappointed, we applauded the winner and consoled ourselves that it genuinely was a massive achievement to be shortlisted and had gone a long way to raising the profile of advocacy on the national stage.

Here at OPAAL we see everyone involved in the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme as winners and we thank each and every one. All have made a difference to the lives of older people affected by cancer.

Marie McWilliams, Operations Manager, OPAAL

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Positive practice in mental health services

Here at OPAAL we’re absolutely delighted to report that the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme has been shortlisted for an award in the National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards in the “Older people’s mental health and dementia” category. This will help us continue to raise the profile of advocacy and peer support.

The Positive Practice Mental Health Collaborative is a user led multi agency collaborative of seventy-five organisations, including  NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Police Forces, third sector providers, front line charities and service user groups. It aims to identify, and disseminate positive practice in mental health services by working together across organisations and sectors, to facilitate shared learning, and to raise the profile of mental health with politicians and policy makers.

Positive Practice is dedicated to providing a directory of positive practice in mental health services and the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme is now listed in this directory.

Having carried out its first service user focused assessment of a mental health service well over 20 years ago, and having been identifying and sharing positive practice for almost as long, the collaborative came to the conclusion many years ago that there is a ‘perfect mental health service’ out there, ‘it’s just not all in one place’. By developing this directory they intend to demonstrate this theory.

The directory also features positive practice examples featured in the pathways developed for NHS England by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

The full directory as it stands can be found here

The awards ceremony takes place on Thursday 12th October 2017.

Wish us luck!

Marie McWilliams, Operations Manager, OPAAL

 


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A very Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of our readers and contributors.

We have great news to start off the New Year. As you may know we were shortlisted in November in the UK Blog Awards for this blog. Our entry is in the best Health and Social Care Blog category. OPAAL had to put out a big call to our members, stakeholders and friends encouraging them to help us through the initial public voting phase. We were up against some much larger organisations with a bigger social reach than us.

We must have secured a very strong number of votes because on Monday we received the news that we have been announced as a finalist, which means we eagerly await the judge’s vote later this Spring and in the meantime we have a new ‘finalist’ badge to display on our blog! We would also like to thank all of you who voted for us.

facebook-1-2It’s brilliant to have this recognition for our blog. We work tirelessly to secure new content to keep it fresh and our delivery partner projects work hard to make sure we have something new, interesting and timely to share.

This news will encourage us to keep writing; it’s great to be starting the new year on such a positive note!

We’re so happy to be showing the world the impact of independent peer advocacy and that #advocacyworks.

Marie McWilliams, OPAAL


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I have found this a really rewarding task and confirmed what I know that ICANN is a good and well led charity.

Did you know that as part of our work we’ve developed Quality Standards for the provision of advocacy support for older people affected by cancer? The standards set out what clients should expect when they receive independent cancer advocacy services.  They are the standards that are demonstrated on a day-to-day basis by good older people’s cancer advocacy services.

The standards are a way of us reinforcing and demonstrating professionalism and commitment in our cancer advocacy service delivery. There are organisational, partnership, monitoring and evaluation, service provision and training, supervision and support standards. Each standard contains a series of statements that, taken together, signify what a good older people’s cancer advocacy service looks like.  It puts the interests of clients first, is safe and effective and promotes trust through a professional and person centred approach.

ICANN is the first of our delivery partners to go through the cancer advocacy Quality Standards audit process and we’re delighted to say, the first to receive their compliance certificate from OPAAL. Many congratulations to them.

ICANN QSCertificate

In today’s blog post, Sandra from ICANN tells us about the process:

As a volunteer with ICANN based in Preston Lancashire, I was flattered to be asked to consider looking to see if ICANN is meeting the Quality Standards for the provision of advocacy support for older people affected by cancer. Was it something I might like to have a look at, as to whether we would be eligible to apply? As always Janet treated me as a volunteer so no pressure however a chat over coffee and I was happy to have a go.

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I spent a couple of hours at home looking through all the audit requirements and going through all the data on the ICANN website that I thought would fit. I was pleased to see that ICANN could measure up to meet most of the requirements and was aware in a couple of areas there would be more material available by talking to other volunteers.

Sandra

Sandra

I set aside a Monday morning with Janet in the ICANN office and we went through all the standards categories filling in some of the blanks. Only one area needed to be addressed which we talked to the CEO about. Later I also spoke to two other volunteers for help and input in their speciality areas, which was very useful.

A few weeks later I spent a further two mornings in the office mostly spent writing up a fair copy, and checking policies and procedures were as requiredI am pleased to report that the area missing is now in place. I found it useful to complete most of the work in the office as Janet and Pat (Admin) were on hand to help with any queries.

I have found this a really rewarding task and confirmed what I know that ICANN is a good and well led charity. Going for the Quality Standards is the right thing to do and I did not find it too onerous.

Sandra, ICANN


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Sanofi help us find a new medium for telling our stories!

In Autumn 2014 Sanofi UK awarded OPAAL the Gold Award in its 2014 Patient Group Bursary Scheme; a scheme that supports initiatives across the UK that make a tangible difference to patient empowerment and education. OPAAL’s gold award of £25,000 allows us to set up a Cancer Patient Train the Trainer Programme.

Ang Broadbridge is leading this work for OPAAL, Ang said “this award allows us to do some really intensive work raising the profile of independent advocacy for older people affected by cancer; I am looking forward to working with our trainers over the summer to co-produce a training programme we hope will have a high impact and lead to good practice and shared learning for our COPA delivery partners.”

Ang Broadbridge, National Development Officer

Ang Broadbridge, National Development Officer

Work is well under way recruiting older people affected by cancer to become trainers able to train both Healthcare professionals and social care professionals raising awareness of independent advocacy and most importantly telling the story about how it supports older people affected by cancer to better cope with their lives following a cancer diagnosis.

Furthermore a training programme is being developed to support our trainers, older people affected by cancer, to understand the nature of commissioning and the key messages we want commissioners and health professionals to understand.

Following the publication of Every Step of the Way last year we have been exploring different mediums for telling advocacy stories. We were delighted to work with Sanofi earlier this year on a piece installed at their head office on Onslow Street in Guildford. Telling David’s Story from Every Step of the Way on their glass atrium walls Sanofi are raising awareness of advocacy with their staff and visitors to the building. We are very proud to see our work displayed in this innovative and creative way!
Sanofi Atrium Photo


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It’s that time of year again………..

And I don’t mean Christmas shopping and January sales! December and the New Year is a time we tend to look back over the last 12 months. What a year it has been for OPAAL!

January 2014 dawned with some uncertainty and success for the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy Programme. Three of the pilot sites, Beth Johnson Foundation, Help and Care, Bournemouth and Dorset Advocacy had successfully been granted funds from Macmillan Cancer Support to continue the cancer advocacy projects for another three years and so emerged Dorset Macmillan Advocacy and Staffordshire Cancer Advocacy and Support Project.

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The uncertainty was around the OPAAL bid for Flagship Funding from the Big Lottery. £1 million at stake to sustain and grow the Programme.  The Management Group had decided to hold an Event in March hosted by Macmillan to launch the advocacy publication “Every Step of the Way” and to celebrate the success of the pilot …………… and yes, the word came through in time, to celebrate further investment from Big Lottery and Macmillan.

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March 25th saw many of us gathered  at Macmillan UK Offices in Vauxhall when we could share our experiences during the pilot phase, celebrate the continued success and expansion of the Programme – welcoming new partners from Cardiff, Bristol, Knowsley, Preston, Oxford, Sandwell and  to launch the advocacy stories “Every Step of the Way”.

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Unfortunately one of the pilot sites, Gateshead, had to drop out of the Programme so with sadness we said our farewells to Alan.

The continued funding has enabled the Programme to work with strategic partners such as AgeUK Camden, WebEnable, Helen Sanderson Associates, Peter Stone Associates, Red Design and TwoCan.  Work with these partners increases continually and members of the Programme are benefitting from OLGBT training, SAM developments and tools to measure impact. Exciting developments when money is tight and cutbacks is the theme all around us.

May saw the new delivery partners getting started in their areas and the “oldies” supporting them with coaching and mentoring. Visits to the pilot sites took place and everyone got to grips with SAM!

June was the first Programme Management Group with all partners present, Marie did a sterling job leading the team. We then met again in September with all sharing their experiences of their local set up stage.

Marie McWilliams, OPAAL

Marie McWilliams, OPAAL

December 3rd saw us all together again from another quarterly Management Group Meeting and what a packed agenda it was. We welcomed Kim Beresford to the meeting as the newest recruit to the OPAAL Team. Marie and Kim will be working closely together on two more successful projects. Older People’s Cancer Voices, funded by The Department of Health’s Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund and SANOFI is funding the new Train the Trainer project.  We heard from Kath that Impetus will be joining us in the New Year and that there are further possibilities of more organisations coming on board, fingers crossed!

National Project Management Board

National Project Management Board

We met at Voluntary Action, Islington and during the day my mind wandered back to the first meeting we held there in December 2011 when all this was still an idea, work in progress and the outcomes a bit vague. What a long way we’ve come and what a lot has happened in the three years. Congratulations to Kath, Marie , Anne Smith, Kim and Tracy and may the growth continue and the development of the Programme help and support many more older people affected by cancer.

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The following quote sums up this blog and what we have to look forward to in 2015:

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Finally

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to Everyone!

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Kath Curley

Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Cancer Advocacy and Support Project Lead


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OPAAL wins Sanofi UK Patient Group Bursary Gold Award

We are delighted to announce that Sanofi UK has awarded OPAAL the Gold Award in its 2014 Patient Group Bursary Scheme. The scheme supports initiatives across the UK that make a tangible difference to patient empowerment and education. By awarding a share of £50,000 to patient groups, the scheme aims to support organisations where promoting the needs and interests of patients is at the heart of their work.

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The GOLD AWARD  of £25,000 will allow us to set up a Cancer Patient Train the Trainer Programme

We plan to offer a standalone Cancer Patient “Train the Trainer” programme. In essence we plan to recruit and train older people affected by cancer to become Trainers able to train both Healthcare professionals and social care professionals. The nature of the training to be delivered will be to raise awareness among these professionals of independent advocacy, what it is, what it is not, how it complements other forms of care and most importantly how it supports older people affected by cancer to better cope with their lives.

The Sanofi UK funding will enable us to raise the status of the patient voice to have a real impact on health and social care practice. There will be two referral pathways for prospective cancer patient volunteer trainers, from Macmillan’s Cancer Voices national volunteer database and from local volunteer referral pathways set up and managed by local Cancer, Older People and Advocacy delivery partners. OPAAL and her local partners Dorset Advocacy and Help and Care in Dorset, Beth Johnson Foundation in Staffordshire and Sefton Pensioners Advocacy Centre will recruit, train and supervise volunteer cancer patient trainers. Macmillan Cancer Support will adopt an information and advisory role for this project.

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We’re very excited about this work which will complement the Cancer Older People and Advocacy project.

Baroness Neuberger DBE and Patient Group Bursary Scheme judge said:.”This year’s winners all demonstrated tremendous passion and commitment to the people they set out to support. The projects selected for bursary awards are all very different. However, whether it be improving advocacy for older cancer patients, establishing the first peer support network in the UK for people with TB or providing mentoring to develop local support groups for families affected by fundamental diseases, the judges strongly believe that all three projects have the potential to have a significant impact on the lives of patients and those who care for them. We wish the groups all the very best of luck with their projects.”

OPAAL’s Chief Executive Kath Parson said: “We are all absolutely delighted to be this years winners of the Sanofi UK Gold Award. This money will enable us to train older people affected by cancer to themselves become Trainers able to deliver advocacy training to local health and social care commissioners. We aim to improve commissioners knowledge and understanding of independent advocacy services by learning directly from service users.”

Dr Mark Toms, Medical Director of Sanofi UK and Ireland commented:“Advocacy groups play an important role in championing the needs of patients and Sanofi UK is committed to supporting groups who strive to improve care and empower patients through the Sanofi Patient Group Bursary Scheme. Now in its fourth consecutive year we still continue to be impressed by the passion and unrelenting tenacity of patient groups in delivering exceptional programmes that make a lasting difference to the lives of patients across the UK.”

Look out for further information as the project gets under way in the Autumn.

Marie McWilliams, OPAAL