Today Pat McCarthy from KPAIS tells us about Advocafe:
Advocacy is a serious business…..
Except when it’s not!
Here at KPAIS we have been trialling a new initiative for older people in Knowsley. We’ve called it Advocafe. It’s a way of getting older people together in a social setting to encourage peer advocacy and peer support. Ideal for our Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project.
So, over a cup of tea and a French Fancy we’ve shared information on advocacy services and health prevention ideas. And we’ve asked all the people who attended what was important to them. What do they want information about? What would they like to see in these sessions?
Within 2 weeks new friendships had been formed, lifts were being given, wool was being shared. And we were gathering really useful information about what older people wanted themselves.
Within our sessions we had all the information available about our Cancer Older People and Advocacy Service with the Every Step of the Way Books. One woman told us about an experience she’d had many years earlier after a cancer diagnosis “I could have used someone like you back then!” She was happy to share her experience with her table and she helped others to understand how the Cancer Older People and Advocacy service can help when you feel you need support.
One of our sessions brought in the cancer screening officer and it was so much easier to talk about bowel screening while we were all together, having a laugh, making it less embarrassing (one of the key reasons why people don’t talk about it). And at another session we brought in the Ivan – Knowsley’s own cancer information bus. Blood pressures were taken, advice was given and people felt supported and reassured that they could access this information.
We made Christmas cards (nothing like being prepared …) and gift boxes. This session was wittily titled ‘Advocrafts’ by one of our Sandwell colleagues!
We made advocacy approachable and we’re now looking forward to taking our Advocafe out to the rest of Knowsley later in the year, with a steering group formed of our first attendees. It’s such a good vehicle for taking our Peer Cancer Advocacy out into the community and hopefully reaching a wider group of older people.
Pat McCarthy, KPAIS, April 2016