Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

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Eura’s Story

My name is Eura and I am 76 years old.  I was diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2014.

 To say the diagnosis was a shock is an understatement. 

 I telephoned Age Connects in relation to another issue and I was informed about the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy Project.

The thought of attending chemotherapy on my own was very scary, but Age Connects reassured me that this would not happen.

 I met the co-ordinator Angela who then introduced me to my Volunteer Advocate. 


The match was made in heaven as myself and the Advocate both love to travel and have visited many countries so have lots in common. 

We chat non stop while I attend chemotherapy, and this really takes my mind off what is happening…. 

 Age Connects have been so very supportive to me, I really feel in times of need I have someone to talk to and also to discuss things with – a listening ear!

 I am so pleased I made that call – I no longer feel I am facing this horrid disease on my own.


Laura from Age Connects Cardiff says:

Within 3 weeks of the initial phone call to Age Connects, Eura had met with Angela and then her Volunteer Advocate.

The Advocate has been able to support her with writing letters, get her benefits advice and has provided her with emotional support both at appointments and on the telephone. From the time the Volunteer Advocate was introduced in September Eura has received support over 20 times. Working together they are producing an action plan for the time and support needed for the New Year.

Laura Thomas, Age Connects Cardiff




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Our First Training Session with our Peer Support Volunteer Advocates at Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale

Angela Jones and Joanne King of Cardiff Cancer, Older People & Advocacy project recently carried out their first training for volunteers. There were three volunteers who were very keen and engaged well with the subject matter and the trainers.


An evaluation form was handed out at the end of the second day and completed on site.


The evaluation form encompassed four questions that had a scale of 1-5 (1 being totally disagreed and 5 being totally agree). We are pleased to say that we scored 5 on all the questions which were:

  1. Found the course interesting and productive.
  2. The course has met my expectations.
  3. I felt encouraged and able to contribute.
  4. I am satisfied on how the course was run.


Joanne King on the left and Angela Jones on the right with the 3 new volunteers

Joanne, Margaret, Juliet, Karla and Angela

At the end the volunteers were invited to give general comments which included:

“Examining the various stages of the cancer journey was useful as everyone has a different experience.”

“Excellent in every way.”

“The information given was clear and well delivered and I was made to feel valued and supported.”

“The scenarios made me really think about how I would handle a particular situation.”

“Because I work it would have been better for me if the training was covered in one day.”

It is always difficult to gauge how a first training session will evolve and all of us are on a constant learning curve but it was a great experience for both trainers to be part of that process.

Laura Thomas, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale

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Our first ‘trial’ outings promoting our Cancer Older People and Advocacy project

Hi, I’m Joanne King, Volunteer Coordinator for the Cancer Older People and Advocacy project in Cardiff and the Vale. I attended a health promotion day on the 19th September at the STAR leisure centre in Splott supported by Communities First. The event was also attended by the ManVan from Tenovus and Public Health Wales Screening Programme who were highlighting the importance of early cancer diagnosis particularly in relation to prostate, bowel and breast cancer.


There was a good flow of local people who were encouraged inside by Communities First staff. There was also a visit by the Lady Mayoress who promised to look at the new project. I spoke with two people directly affected by cancer who thought that the new service was an excellent idea and took away leaflets for future reference. Sadly, no volunteers came forward on this particular day.

It was definitely a good day for partnership working as Public Health staff and Tenovus were made aware of the Cancer Older People & Advocacy project and encouraged to link in with any potential referrals.


I also visited the Communities First offices in Splott on the 2nd October which was an event to promote services within the community including energy advice service NEST, Wiltshire Farm Foods and Public Health Wales. Again this was a great platform to advertise the service with other agencies. One lady was quite keen on volunteering and took some details. Unfortunately there were no potential service users from this event.

Four more promotional events have been booked in local hospitals alongside Angela Jones, Volunteer Advocate, and one of our volunteers is going to join us. We’ll update you on these events in the very near future.


Joanne King, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale

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Our First Local Cancer Champions Board Meeting

We recently held our first Local Cancer Champion Board (LCCB) meeting which was a huge success. We went through our draft terms of reference, making some additions and identified the need for a representative from an older person affected by cancer, an older person’s consultant and a professional working in the Vale; the Board have identified possible ways of recruiting these individuals.


The representatives on the LCCB  were also able to offer us further guidance and support for the Cancer, Older People’s Advocacy team and our Peer Cancer Support Advocates.

Macmillan Cancer Support currently provide drop in sessions at their hub in the University Hospital of Wales for anyone interested in popping by. Tenovus have invited our volunteers and staff to attend their ‘speed dating sessions’, where they can learn a lot about cancer in a different and fun way and in a short space of time. Velindre Hospital has offered to show our staff around their facilities so that staff can see the treatment rooms and equipment and machines that are used.

We aim to utilise the above to bridge the time between recruitment of the Peer Cancer Support Advocates and matching to a client


Angela Jones, Advocate

Angela Jones, Advocate

The LCCB was also a good sounding block for ideas of the best way to launch our project and we have chosen to hold small road shows at our 3 main hospitals. We plan to do this the second week in October.

Our temporary chair from the LCCB was also able to attend the National Cancer Champions Board meeting in London recently at Macmillan Cancer Support HQ.

Angela Jones, Advocate, Cancer, Older People’s Advocacy Project, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale


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Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale’s New Cancer, Older People’s Advocacy Project

Age Connects Cardiff and & Vale (ACCV) has been involved in providing an advocacy service since 1994 and has vast experience offering a range of stimulating and interesting volunteer opportunities, so we are very excited to have been chosen as the only provider in Wales to be part of the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project covering Cardiff and & the Vale. Our aim is to help resolve issues or difficulties, cancer related or not, to improve quality of life.


It has been a very busy couple of months recruiting and setting up the project.  We aim to roll out our first training session at the end of August 2014 so we have been conscious not to advertise our project too quickly yet we have already received 4 referrals which our independent advocate has made contact with. Our volunteer coordinator has received interest from 3 very good potential Peer Cancer Support Advocates.

The team went up to Staffordshire for the day in May, to meet with the Beth Johnston Foundation, who are our mentors.  They have been a great source of support and information. And the team also signed up to the first webinar in June, facilitated by Macmillan Cancer Support nationally. The session was a success and lead to some very useful contacts.


Phil Vining, Manager, Cancer, Older People and Advocacy, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale

Phil Vining, Manager, Cancer, Older People and Advocacy, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale

We have started to slowly raise awareness of our project by meeting with our regional Macmillan team, who have been excellent in providing us with useful contacts.

Phil Vining, Manager, Cancer, Older People’s Advocacy Project, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale