Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer


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Amplifying older people’s cancer voices into clinical commissioning groups

The final film in the series we have been sharing all this week sets out a rationale for clinical commissioning groups (CCG’s) to engage with local cancer, older people and advocacy projects. The aim of this engagement is two-fold.  Firstly, we are keen to support the voices of older people affected by cancer into local commissioning practice to support service pathway developments.  Supported by OPAAL and the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme partner projects older people affected by cancer are actively engaged in starting conversations with commissioners, getting involved in local service design and developing better services for their peers through our local cancer champion boards and our Train the Trainer project.   Secondly we are using this film to help us to make the case for long term commissioning of peer advocacy services for older people affected by cancer by CCGs.

This film features older people affected by cancer talking about the effectiveness of peer advocacy support, alongside health and care professionals and commissioners who are building strong relationships with their local cancer, older people and advocacy projects:

Our Older People’s Cancer Voices project is about taking these messages out into local communities to start, and to support, conversations between older people affected by cancer and local commissioning groups, we look forward to making contact with you soon.

Ang Broadbridge, OPAAL


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OPAAL to receive share of £4 MILLION to support proposals in the Health and Care field

OPAAL is to get funding to develop new, innovative approaches to health and care, actively share excellent practice or improve integrated care and efficiency.

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Voluntary sector organisations submitted funding bids to the Department of Health setting out how they could help meet the Departments objectives of better health and well-being and better care for all and how their proposal has potential for national impact.

Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb said: “These projects play a crucial role in supporting people, their families and carers. They are examples of just some of the excellent and innovative work going on throughout the country in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector – all of which help to create and support strong and resilient communities.”

Norman Lamb MP

Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb

The Department of Health funding comes from the Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund (IESD) and will cover the cost of a Development Officer post for 4 days a week for 3 years. The Development Officer will work on a  new OPAAL project called Older People’s Cancer Voices alongside the Flagship Cancer, Older People and Advocacy Project and will build relationships between Clinical Commissioning Groups and independent advocacy organisations. Initially the project will work with pilot partners Beth Johnson Foundation, Dorset Advocacy, Help & Care and Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre to create a library of filmed case studies. These real life stories will, like our recent publication Every Step of the Way, aid the buy-in to advocacy and support Commissioners, Health & Wellbeing Boards and Healthwatch to get a better understanding of the impact that advocacy can have.

We aim to produce best practice guidance for use by providers of advocacy services to older people to help them build relationships with Commissioners. Eventually this guidance will be made available across the whole of the advocacy sector. This guidance should ultimately lead to greater opportunities for older people to influence service delivery through Health & Wellbeing Boards and Healthwatch, promoting equality of opportunity along treatment pathways.

Kath Parson

Kath Parson

Kath Parson, OPAAL’s Chief Executive, said ” We are absolutely delighted with this award, this money will help us bring the voices of older people directly to the attention of local decision makers. We aim to support older people to make films of their stories to be used to educate and inform local decision making ensuring that independent advocacy becomes a key component of age friendly care using evidence we will gather as shining examples”.

We are currently recruiting for a new Development Officer and hope to see the project get underway in the Autumn. If you are keen to work with us on this exciting project you can download the application pack from the home page of the OPAAL website by clicking here. The closing date for applications is Tuesday August 12th and interviews will take place in Stoke on Trent on Wednesday 10th September.

Marie McWilliams, National Development Officer, OPAAL