Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Fantastic news! Our numbers are increasing again…

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Age UK Northumberland (AUKN) is delighted to announce that they will be joining the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy  programme after successfully securing funding from Macmillan Cancer Support to deliver a dedicated advocacy service for older people affected by cancer throughout Northumberland for three years.


Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland is Patron of OPAAL and said “I am absolutely delighted that the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme is coming to Northumberland. Older people affected by cancer can have such a rotten time so giving other older people with their own experience of cancer the opportunity to come forward to be trained as advocates to support them in their local community is wonderful.”

The Duchess of Northumberland. Photograph by Margaret Whittaker

The Duchess of Northumberland. Photograph by Margaret Whittaker

AUKN is an established health and social care based charity across the county of Northumberland and its services include befriending, advocacy, practical support, information advice and guidance, welfare benefits (case work including representation at tribunal) and housing & social care options casework/advice/assessments, health & wellbeing exercise programmes for older people. AUKN has been a trusted source of advocacy in Northumberland for the last 7 years offering general advocacy and specialist advocacy support to older people encountering financial abuse, scams and housing & social care options. Advocacy is a vital service supporting older people who find it difficult to voice their wishes and those who are denied or are unable to access treatment, services, benefits and support.


Data from Northumberland’s Health and Wellbeing Board Cancer Profile (Northern and Yorkshire Cancer Registry and Information Service (NYCRIS)) reveals that almost 1900 people in Northumberland are diagnosed with cancer each year and over 900 die of the disease, accounting for 28% of all deaths. Northumberland is ranked as the 29th most deprived local authority in England and there is a link to social deprivation and significantly worse outcomes for survival and life expectancy. This is perhaps linked to lack of awareness of cancer signs and symptoms within poorer communities and restricted access to health services which may be magnified in areas of rurality such as Northumberland.

This project will fill a gap in specialist Advocacy services across Northumberland, addressing inequalities that vulnerable older people (aged 50+) affected by cancer face both with cancer treatment options and in access to healthcare and support services. The advocate will support the older person throughout their cancer journey, helping them to obtain all of the information and support that they need.

Deb McGarrity of AgeUK Northumberland in front of the Round House, AUKN's headquarters

Deb McGarrity of AgeUK Northumberland in front of the Round House, AUKN’s headquarters

AUKN is currently recruiting volunteers for this exciting new service and will hope to be rolling out the service soon. Please visit AUKN’s website for further information and updates: www.ageuk.org.uk/northumberland


Deborah McGarrity, Advocate Coordinator, Age UK Northumberland.


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