Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

National Cancer Champions Board – working hard in London

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On the 8th July I had the pleasure of chairing the National Cancer Champions Board meeting. This is an amazing meeting of people most of whom volunteer their time and expertise to come together to advise and help set future direction of our Flagship Cancer Older People’s Advocacy Programme. This was our twelfth meeting and to my shame I realise I have never thanked them publically for their work. Today I decided to put that right. We most often feature the stories our our volunteers or the people they so ably support, yet this group are very important to our work.

The Board is made up of people who either sit on our Delivery Partners Local Cancer Champions Board or have some knowledge, expertise and interest in supporting older people affected by cancer achieve better lives for themselves.


Standing left to right.

Mig Muller (Macmillan) Sian Payne (LGBT Foundation) Sam Bond (IMPETUS) Carol Wood (ICANN)
Deborah Garrity (Age UK Northumberland)

Seated left to right

Sue Perry (Age UK Bristol) Antonio Quadrucci (OPABC) Anne Whitmarsh Neil Whitmarsh (SPAC)

Seated right to left

Ron Clayton (OPABC) Kath Parson (OPAAL CEO) Monica Dennis (Age Connects Cardiff) Andrew Jazeaeli (Macmillan)
Keith Beswick (Oxford Advocacy) Dawn Porter (KPAIS)

We discussed issues covering the success of the partners supporting those in need by celebrating a recent film we have made which features a wide range of stakeholders speaking about the benefits of our work to older people, our volunteers and health and social care professionals whose own work we seek to complement and support. Watch this space for the release of this film next month.

However much of the meeting wrestled with some of the challenges we face. These include bringing our work to the attention of the wider public, other health and care professionals and in particular commissioners, our need to recruit and train new volunteers and finally how to persuade our colleagues working in health settings to refer older people who need support to our service. This latter is a constant challenge, one which we are addressing with a wide range of strategies. Many of these strategies are fed into the board from our LCCB members who readily share the successes they have achieved for the benefit of all our partners. It’s a great example of people sharing their experiences, methods and activities which work. The meetings are hosted and serviced by Macmillan Cancer Support who also share their developments in working with the older people they support. Special to Anna Broomfield who takes the notes for our meetings and took the photograph above.

I always come away from these meetings reinvigorated, having learned something new and deeply grateful to be part of such a committed group of individuals. Thank you ALL for your time, patience and willingness to give so freely of your expertise and knowledge, without you our COPA programme would not be the success it is today.


Author: kathparson

Chief Executive of Older People's Advocacy Alliance (UK)

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