Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

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Training for Volunteer Advocates

Oxfordshire Advocacy (OA) sharing our journey of the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project in Oxfordshire.

We held our first peer advocate training course in house on the 21st July with the next one coming up on the 8th September.


Feedback from attendees

We had a great group of experienced OA volunteers and people new to advocacy and all with their own personal experience of cancer.

Two key questions kept coming up:

  1. Where do we find all the relevant information to support the people we will be working with? We were able to reassure the attendees that Macmillan and other local agencies have amazing banks of information which are constantly updated to ensure everyone is able to find out what services are available”. (Naomi Karslake – OA Co-ordinator)

“We also pointed attendees to pages 21-41 of the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance booklet which is a course hand out that ‘Cancer and its impact on Older People’s Lives’ provided the relevant answer to this question.” (Julie Walters – OA Co-ordinator)

  1. Where do we draw the line between advocacy and befriending? As peer advocates we are sharing their experience in a different way to how we do as a generic advocate.A support group for Cancer, Older People and Advocacy advocates will be crucial to address many of the issues and questions that arose on the day.  We do not as yet have all the answers”. (Naomi Karslake – OA Co-ordinator)


Naomi Karslake

Naomi Karslake

Attendee’s feedback

Rosie “I am 65 and have cancer and faced appointments, results and complaining about practitioners alone.

 I was heartened to meet so many compassionate volunteers who will be there to support individuals through the process with the committed project leaders.

“The training will enable me to participate locally and nationally to inform , influence and peacefully persuade others to ensure  individuals with cancer  are no longer treated as “victims” but as individuals who have rights to information and treatment which they choose by informed consent”  (Rosie Young – OA Volunteer)

Keith“Our first training session – There were about 18 of us. Most of us were retired but nearly a third had yet to reach senior citizen status. Several of Oxfordshire Advocacy co-ordinators joined the group. Naomi our experienced trainer led the group. All of us had either a relative or close friend succumb to cancer or had survived the condition.

First sessions have to get definitions out of the way. We looked at a few case studies. The group was light hearted so we could dwell on helping rather than getting caught up with the enormity of the task. We noted that with increasing life expectancy the numbers of people involved with relatives and friends with malignant disease will increase. We were reminded that other conditions are just as debilitating and fatal as cancer.

The afternoon was delegated as to how advocacy skills could be used and adapted to helping those with loved ones suffering from cancer”.  (Keith Beswick – OA Volunteer)


Follow us on Twitter @gettingheardOX                         


Team OA


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Oxfordshire Advocacy welcomes Cancer, Older People and Advocacy

Oxfordshire Advocacy  is delighted to deliver the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project  for Oxfordshire.


About Oxfordshire Advocacy

Oxfordshire Advocacy has worked with the residents of Oxfordshire for over 20 years providing a free, confidential, non-judgemental and independent advocacy service available to all adults living in the county including older people, those with dementia, mental health issues or physical needs.  We help them to secure their rights and support them in getting heard on matters of importance to them.

Our ethos has always been to offer support to vulnerable individuals to be better able to make informed personal choices to deal effectively with issues that affect their health and well-being. The Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project is a natural extension to the advocacy service Oxfordshire Advocacy already provides.

First month of Cancer, Older People and Advocacy

We have begun making contact with our local hospices and cancer therapy units to share the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project with them.

Networking on social media via our website www.gettingheard.org and on Twitter @gettingheardOX linking up to follow groups such as @oxfordpride as an avenue to raise awareness of Cancer, Older People and Advocacy within the Oxfordshire LGBT community.

Oxfordshire Advocacy’s Independent Cancer Support Advocate attended the National Cancer Champion’s Board meeting in June at Macmillan Cancer Support HQ.


We are privileged to have a great bank of volunteer advocates who have been with us for a long time.  Some of whom alongside newly recruited volunteers will be working with those individuals coming to us for support aged over 50 affected by cancer.


We have two in-house Cancer, Older People and Advocacy peer advocate training courses taking place on 21st July and 8th September. This is specialist training from Cancer, Older People and Advocacy ensuring our volunteers have the skills to support older people affected by cancer.

Cancer, Older People and Advocacy  is a fantastic project delivered in Oxfordshire by Oxfordshire Advocacy www.gettingheard.org

Meet the Oxfordshire Advocacy Cancer, Older People and Advocacy Team:

L-R Julie Walters, Julia Hamer-Hunt, Jacinta Sands

L-R Julie Walters, Julia Hamer-Hunt, Jacinta Sands

Julia Hamer-Hunt