Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

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People were soon making friends and having a chat over a mince pie…

In today’s post Laura Thomas of Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale tells us about Carols and mince pies:

As a project that covers Cardiff and the Vale we wanted to plan something informal in Llantwit Major that would bring people together on a cold winter’s morning, and would reach those living in some of our more rural areas.


We decided on a Christmas themed event with mince pies, drinks and a raffle with donations from the local Co-operative and Filco supermarkets and Sainsbury’s in Cardiff (Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale is currently their charity of the month). This enabled us to offer all refreshments and the raffle prizes for free.


Information on our work and some prizes for the raffle

We opened the doors for 10.30am and after a short wait the room soon started to fill up. Some came with friends and others were dropped off by a relative or came alone. The atmosphere was upbeat and people were soon making friends and having a chat over a mince pie.

Angela, our independent advocate and Alice the volunteer co-ordinator spent the morning talking to the guests, explaining more about the Cancer Older People and Advocacy Project. We had our leaflets to give out and the OPAAL short film ‘Older People Affected by Cancer’ played in the background. Our volunteers were busy; Linda ran the raffle and Jeff took photos of the day.


Tenovus choir

We invited Tenovus Cancer Care Choir to come and sing some carols for us. Their singing was amazing and they really helped to get everyone in the Christmas spirit and had everyone singing along. It also gave us an opportunity to talk to those in the choir about the Cancer Older People and Advocacy project and they in turn were able to speak to some guests about the great work provided by Tenovus. All in all it was a great example of how working with another third sector organisation can benefit those that we support.

Laura Thomas, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale


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Our team may be SMALL but the difference we make to people’s lives has a BIG impact

Laura Thomas and Sue Campbell of Age Connects Cardiff tell us about their tight knit team:

In the first months of starting the project our priority was to promote the service and to recruit our vital peer volunteer support advocates.  We have worked hard to promote the project across Cardiff and the Vale, including participating in a variety of road shows which proved to be successful.


This success has been matched by the number of referrals we have received with the project already supporting 47 individuals. Our peer volunteer support advocates are matched with those people needing support and quickly start making a real difference.   As one of our clients said

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

Peer volunteer support advocates support people with a range of activities from:

  • providing emotional support in their own homes
  • being available at the end of a phone
  • helping them to attend various hospital appointments
  • visiting them whilst they have been in hospital,

Our dedicated Volunteers have experience of cancer in some form or another and come from a range of backgrounds, each of them bringing a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience.

Volunteer training

Volunteer training

We continue to build good working relationships with other cancer services, especially Macmillan, who have recently added us to their web page with a link to Age Connects Cancer, Older People and Advocacy web site, and Tenovus cancer care continues to share information with us and provide training opportunities for our volunteers.

Volunteer Coordinator, Alice Matthews

Volunteer Coordinator, Alice Matthews

Our team is small and is made up of 4 active Peer volunteer support advocates , 1 paid advocate and 1 paid volunteer co-ordinator both whom work 14 hours each per week. We also have 7 hours of administration and 5 hours of managerial support. This equates to only 1 full time paid member of staff which highlights how much this project relies on the dedication, experience and good work of our brilliant Peer volunteer support advocates.

Our team may be SMALL but the difference we make to people’s lives has a BIG impact.


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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