More news from Macmillan – New British Sign Language Videos



We’ve recently launched five new videos in British Sign Language (BSL), which you can see on our website. The new videos are:

  • What is cancer?
  • Common cancers and reducing your risk
  • Common cancer symptoms
  • Where to get support if you have been diagnosed with cancer
  • What to expect if you have been diagnosed with cancer


These videos are shorter, simpler and more visual than the previous versions. They’ve been developed using feedback gathered at focus groups with deaf people. We’ve also split some of our original videos into shorter ones, and we’ve improved navigation on the web page.


Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month

July is Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month and we need your help in reaching out to people affected by cancer in minority ethnic communities.




Our Rich Picture report outlined that cancer awareness and uptake of some services is lower among ethnic minorities. Language can often be a barrier to this. On be.Macmillan there is a wide range of materials in different languages, including our cancer factsheets and early diagnosis flyers. These have been translated into 14 languages so far, including Bengali, traditional Chinese, Gujariti, Polish, and Urdu. In addition, Macmillan Support Line (0808 808 00 00) provides an interpretation service for over 200 languages. Simply tell the people you support to state, in English, the language they wish to use when they call.

Volunteers Celebration

On the 7th June 2017 we held our “World of Difference” buffet lunch to celebrate the contribution our volunteers have made to BJF. Volunteers give their time freely and need to be thanked for the work and time they give.


We indulged in our international lunch which included pasta, bhajis, olives, tortilla chips, spring rolls, pakoras, sausage rolls, cheeses,  and of course the good old Staffordshire oatcake!  Lunch was followed by a free raffle and then a capital cities quiz and name that country!

046 To all our Volunteers – Well Done and Thank You!


A booklet complied by OPAAL from all the COPA projects, called Time – our gift to you highlights the work and effort given by volunteers to all the cancer advocacy projects. Copies are available from BJF.



Dying Matters Conference

Dying Matters Week in Staffordshire was celebrated by a Palliative and End of Life Conference organised by University Hospitals of North Midlands on Thursday 11th  May. The Conference was entitled “I didn’t want that: Why patients’ wishes matter” and was attended by over 250 delegates from across the Midlands. BJF had a stand to promote the dementia and cancer advocacy projects and was therefore able to join the Conference.

There were some eminent speakers including Dr Sara Russell, Head of Research and Clinical Innovation at Hospice UK, who showed a very thought provoking film from zdoggmd; “Ain’t the way to die” which you can find at

Sara’s message was that professionals should be asking “What matters to you?” rather than “What’s the matter with you?”

Amanda Cheesley, Professional Lead Long Term Conditions and End of Life Care with the Royal College of Nursing followed on and very much reiterated Sarah’s messages.  She opened by talking about the “essence” of the person – who we are, what we are – doesn’t go away when someone  dies or is dying. We should look at what is important to people emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Jan Cooper, Regional Liaison Advisor at the General Medical Council discussed the End of Life/ Palliative Care Guidance. Decision making should be a partnership and this will require a change of culture. At one time professionals made the decisions, then it swung to patients making the decision but it should be co-production – joint decision after listening, discussing and sharing information.

After lunch there were two more “professionals “   presentations from Claire Henry – the Chief Executive Officer of the National Council for Palliative Care and Dr Katherine Bristowe , a post-doctoral  researcher at the Cicely Saunders Institute, Kings College, London. She has a particular interest in widening access to palliative care, and recently worked on the ACCESSCare project (funded by Marie Curie), a national qualitative interview study of LGBT people facing advanced illness and bereavement.

At this Conference the best was most definitely left until the end. The Conference closed with a presentation from Tommy Whitelaw, Project Engagement Lead for Dementia Carer Voices. He was a carer for his late mother Joan for 5 years as she had vascular dementia. He told us about his beautiful mother, Joan Whitelaw, NOT the disruptive lady in bed 6! He talked about his experiences with health professionals during his time as  a carer and the importance of reassuring carers that they are doing a wonderful job.  Tommy travels across Scotland to raise awareness of the impact of dementia on families and the importance of empowering carers to carry out their difficult but vital role. Lessons to be learnt for people caring for someone with any terminal condition. There was not a dry eye in the Conference!

Joe Potts, Macmillan End of Life Care Facilitator, UHNM   is to be congratulated on a stimulating, thought provoking conference – a job really well done.


Kath Curley

Project Manager

Cancer, Older People and Hidden Groups

We had a very successful day on the 29th September in Stafford at the conference about older people, cancer and hidden groups – identifying the barriers.


Hidden or hard to reach groups are many and very varied. We decided this year to concentrate on people with a learning disability, LGBT, prisoners and the homeless though as we all know people don’t fit neatly into one box. We had some excellent speakers but, as always, the most powerful parts of the presentations were hearing from people belonging to the hidden group. So a big “thank you” to Carl, Ruth Tara and Darren. The patient voice and personal experience of health and care services is so moving and inspiring and  as advocates we strive to get it heard. Next year we hope to put on  another Conference looking at BME, asylum seekers, travelers and maybe mental health – all in the context of cancer and older people.

Jane Rudge, Head of Macmillan Services for the Midlands opened the Conference and summed up at the close. Thank you Jane for joining us. We also managed to combine the Conference with our Macmillan Coffee Morning and raised £68.40 + gift aid.

The feedback from the Conference and all the participants has been very positive with many thinking about how to make changes to their services to make them accessible to everyone. We will be analysing the feedback and producing a report highlighting the themes.

Thank you to all the organisers, presenters and participants in working hard to make a great day.

Kath Curley

Project Manager







The Advocacy Project is pleased to welcome Ruth Copley-Jones to the Project as Volunteer Co-ordinator.


Following university Ruth started her career working in recruitment, recruiting Doctors into locum positions across the north of the United Kingdom. She then gained a position in Human Resources at Leeds City Council and worked for the organisation for 14 years in a variety of roles within HR, recruitment, and organisational development.

During this time she gained her CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) qualification and is a chartered member of the organisation. She has experience of recruitment, training, policy development, and sickness management.

In her last 4 years with Leeds City Council she worked in a team that managed the sickness absence of employees, dealing with cases of both long and short term absence, supporting and working with to help them employees to return to work.

Ruth returned to Staffordshire following the birth of her daughter and started working for the Beth Johnson Foundation in September 2016.


We all hope she enjoys her time with all the Staff at BJF.


Kath Curley

Project Manager


The Project has just reached its 500 referrals mark! The Team have worked hard to reach this milestone and to manage the expectations and needs of the clients, who very often have several issues to be worked through.

Congratulations and a big Thank You to all the Co-ordinators and the Caseload Support officer. Don’t stop – keep going there are more older people affected by cancer who need the support of an advocate.

Kath Curley

Project Manager

Come and join our team here at Staffordshire & Wolverhampton Cancer Advocacy!

We have a vacancy for a Volunteer co-ordinator for our project.

Working in partnership with and funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, an exciting opportunity has arisen for a self-motivated individual to play a key role in this project.
You will support the Project Lead and provide line management and supervision to volunteer advocates to achieve the outcomes of the Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Cancer Advocacy and Support Project and provide support for all volunteers across the BJF Macmillan projects.

Due to the innovative nature of the project we are looking for someone who is enthusiastic about this project development and is experienced in advocacy and volunteer management and support.
Secondments will be considered.
For more information please follow this link:

What a coincidence!

At last week’s COPA Programme Project Management Group Meeting Kathleen Gillett, from Dorset Macmillan Advocacy,  gave a presentation on Macmillan’s Recovery Package.

Macmillan - The Recovery Package

The Recovery Package is a series of key interventions which, when delivered together, can greatly improve outcomes for people living with and beyond cancer.

The Recovery Package is made up of the following elements:

  • A Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) and care planning.
  • A Treatment Summary completed at the end of each acute treatment phase
  • A Cancer Care Review completed by the GP or practice nurse to discuss the person’s needs.
  • An education and support event such as Health and Well-being Clinics.

Today, Collette Cooper and I met with Sarah Gorton, Macmillan Cancer Survivorship Project Manager, based at Royal Stoke Hospital, who has taken up a 2 year Macmillan funded project. Sarah is working with the CNSs, across Royal Stoke and County Hospitals, for 4 cancer sites:

  1. Head and Neck
  2. Brain
  3. Primary Bone
  4. Gynaecological

to implement an electronic Holistic Needs Assessment (eHNA) within these clinics as an integral part of the Recovery Package.

We discussed with Sarah where advocacy fits within the Package and that Advocates compliment and support the work the CNSs are doing. We hope this will lead to greater partnership and collaborative working with the health professionals.

Good luck Sarah!


Kath Curley

Staffs and Wolves Cancer Advocacy and Support Project Manager.

New Macmillan Project for Staffordshire

I am pleased to be able to write about a new Macmillan funded project that is taking place in Staffordshire.


The Project is led by a familiar face to the Staffs and Wolves Cancer Advocacy and Support Project – Jo Coulson – and Angie Bunn has taken up the role of Engagement Officer.

Cancer support services are perceived to be patchy or even inaccessible when the person affected by cancer is also Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT). There is a lack of solid evidence in relation to this area of need and an absence of information regarding effective approaches to service provision. With a view to improving this situation this project seeks to redress this by speaking directly to people from these groups and undertaking an in-depth assessment of current service “fit”. Recommendations will be made for service redesign based on the experiences recorded across Staffordshire, including Stoke on Trent. It is expected that the recommendations made will influence services nationally and may form the basis of a much broader review of services.

Scoping aims are to find out:

  • What are LGBT people’s experiences of cancer treatment and support locally?
  • What factors facilitate/inhibit open discussions between clinicians and LGBT patients?
  • How well educated are local health professionals about LGBT issues (both clinical and personal – do doctors make assumptions)?
  • What are awareness levels within LGBT communities about specific cancer risks, screening programmes, etc?
  • Is there a need for specialised LGBT code of practice, cancer information and literature, etc?
  • Can true ‘patient centred care’ disregard sexuality or gender variance?


It will use the following strategies:

  • Face-to-face meetings & capturing stories
  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • Focus groups, workshops, roadshows
  • Internet and social media
  • Workplace engagement with clinical staff
  • Information gathering and capturing experiences, identifying trends and gaps
  • User involvement in project development


We wish Jo and Angie all the best with this Project and look forward to the outcomes. I will try to keep you all up-to-date as the Project progresses.

Kath Curley

Project Manager