Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

1 Comment

Poor old Guy and his fellow conspirators would have had no need to resort to gunpowder had they had the right to free speech, freedom of thought, religion and belief, and the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment.

Ahead of November 5th, we have a really thought provoking post from Rhonda Oliver of Barnet Macmillan Cancer Advocacy Service (Advocacy in Barnet). We hope you enjoy it as much as we did:




Remember, remember, the fifth of November

Gunpowder treason and plot

We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!

The fireworks are already starting near me as a prelude to the gruesome Guy Fawkes’ Day commemoration (or it could be the happier celebration of Diwali) and I tried to remember what I knew about the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes and several other conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament to protest against the poor treatment and oppression of Catholics under the reign of King James I (James VI of Scotland) 1566-1625.

This made me think of the Human Rights Act – like you would – and its protections. Poor old Guy and his fellow conspirators  would have had no need to resort to gunpowder had they had the right to free speech, freedom of thought, religion and belief, and the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment.

Rhonda Oliver

Rhonda Oliver


My grasshopper brain then leapt to the Brexiteers’ proposed “British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” and I wondered how this might impact on advocacy – if at all?

We have had cause to consider invoking the Act in a case where someone was being pressured into leaving their home by the local authority under the “Respect for privacy and family life” provisions. In the end, sanity prevailed and the person was supported by their advocate to stay at home. I wonder whether any other Advocacy groups have had cause to use the Act to ensure that public organisations (including Government, the Police and local councils) treat everyone equally with fairness, dignity and respect? It would be great to hear about them.

We must hope that any new bill would not weaken everyone’s rights by leaving politicians of whatever stripe to decide when fundamental freedoms should apply.


So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.

Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.


And what shall we do with him?

Burn him!

Have you had cause to use The Human Rights Act in your advocacy practice? If so, do let us know and join the conversation.

Rhonda Oliver, Barnet Macmillan Cancer Advocacy Service 


Leave a comment

Why I enjoy my role…

In today’s post, Edna Oni of Barnet Macmillan Advocacy Service tells us about her role:

This is a personal vocation for me and I really enjoy my job as an advocate and as a peer volunteer for the Barnet Macmillan Advocacy service. When I come across a client in difficulties, I cannot help but empathise, and giving them a voice and achieving their goals gives me great satisfaction. I feel my personal experiences makes me acutely aware of what another person is going through and strengthen my passion as a peer advocate for a positive outcome.

I feel I care more as a result of my personal experience. My own father died from lung cancer and my mother in law from breast cancer. Also, my very close friend died almost exactly a year ago.

Whilst the Cancer Older People and Advocacy work often demands a prompt outcome, sometimes it is not possible to help and one of my clients died before I was able to achieve their advocacy goals with them, which was saddening.

Edna Oni

Edna Oni

Older people are often overlooked so being able to help in different ways, e.g. with housing, court of protection,  financial abuse is rewarding.  I feel I make a difference by communicating with various organisations on their behalf. The reasons why people contact our Barnet Macmillan Advocacy Service vary enormously and sometimes there are unexpected turns. One advocacy situation with a twist comes to mind involved Mr A, who was referred from social services. He had cancer, had a mini-stroke and was admitted to hospital and then was referred to a care home for 2 weeks’ respite. He really enjoyed the activities in the home and the interactions with other residents so much so that he did not want to go home!


At the initial visit with Mr A and his social worker, I informed him that Social Services dictate was for his leaving the home. He refused, telling me he was not going to leave as he had broken up with his partner and there was no one to look after him. His health had improved while he was in the home and the social worker agreed. He felt that if he left his health would deteriorate and he would die. Social services were clearly more interested in funding issues whilst advocacy is completely client centred. I had to press Mr A’s case very strongly emphasising his right to a good life. Social services arranged for him to live in the home on a permanent basis and I thought job done!

barnet logo

Two weeks later I received a call from social service to deal with financial abuse of the same client. His ex-partner had withdrawn over £3000 of his money from his bank account event though a block had been placed on the account. The bank was extremely unhelpful to begin with, but I persevered and eventually they admitted their mistake, refunded the money and paid compensation of £250 for his distress. Mr A was happy and so was I.


Rhonda Oliver



We’re delighted to welcome Rhonda Oliver to Advocacy in Barnet on May 9th as Project Manager and have our full team complement. Rhonda was previously working with Macmillan and North London Hospice as Project Manager on the Macmillan Specialist Care at Home Project. This project was designed to provide people with life-limiting conditions have more choice about how and where they received their care.

Leave a comment

We’re delighted to introduce Advocacy in Barnet

Advocacy in Barnet (AIB) has been delivering advocacy for the past 17 years in the London Borough of Barnet. AIB is an independent advocacy service supporting people age 50 and over through free, impartial and accessible advocacy.

barnet logo

AIB offers a range of advocacy services: Future Care Project raises awareness on the importance of future care planning and encourages people to complete advance care directives; Financial advocacy that offers support with financial matters and especially with financial abuse; Care homes advocacy where volunteer advocates visit elderly residents on a weekly basis and supports them with advocacy and care issues, AIB has received nationwide recognition by the NHS confederation and last but not the least, Ward embedded hospital advocacy that offers weekly visits by volunteer advocates on wards at Edgware Community and Finchley Memorial hospital, this service is unique nationally. In the last year, AIB supported over 6,000 residents across its various services. On an average AIB advocates (paid and unpaid) supports 120 older people per week.

AIB is a volunteer led organisation that has volunteers involved at various levels of the organisation’s operations including administration, recruitment, training, induction, promotion and publicity, press support, fundraising, media liaison, monitoring and evaluation and delivering advocacy.

AIB is thrilled to be getting the new Macmillan Cancer Support funded Barnet Macmillan Cancer Advocacy (BMCA) service off the ground. Betty Zulu our Senior Advocate will be supporting volunteer advocates with BMCA case referrals. We are in middle of recruiting Macmillan Volunteer Coordinator and new Volunteer Advocates. BMCA had its first LCCB meeting; with such passionate, resourceful and supportive LCCB members the meeting was very interesting and productive.

Janet Maddison and Jacqueline Wijewickreme

Janet Maddison and Jacqueline Wijewickreme

Reginald Glick and Asmina Remtulla

Reginald Glick and Asmina Remtulla


We have two active Macmillan Volunteer Cancer Advocates and one of them has been working with a cancer patient (who also has agoraphobia and anxiety issues) helping him with issues around housing repairs and housing benefit. The advocate supported this gentleman to get his flat repaired so that it is a safe place for him to live; he had tried for a year and half to access repairs and maintenance service at Barnet Homes but was not offered any help.




Whilst the advocate was supporting him with housing repairs, he informed the advocate that his housing benefit was cancelled but did not know why and wanted help with liaising with the housing benefit team. Our advocate liaised with the housing benefit team via emails, letters and phone calls and eventually, it was established that it was an error on their side and they resumed his housing benefit payments.

Renie Bowen and Betty Zulu

Renie Bowen and Betty Zulu



Betty with the help of the volunteer coordinator and volunteers’ team will soon plan outreach activities in the borough. Meanwhile, we are planning to organise our first ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ on 8th or 9th October 2015 with an aim to promote our service, gain referrals and for volunteer recruitment.



For more information please contact Heena Cornwell or Betty Zulu on 020 8201 3415 / 020 8201 3148. You can email us on bmca@advocacyinbarnet.org.uk .