Macmillan Cancer Support and One Vision, a community-based charity that provides practical support to vulnerable people from multiethnic and faith communities, are joining forces to help tackle the inequities in cancer support in the Watford and Three Rivers district.
The two organisations launched a Cancer Champions project at the start of the year. They are looking for volunteers from the Black and Asian ethnic minority communities in the area to help them engage with their communities, discuss the issues they face and help improve the cancer support they receive.
Macmillan chose the Watford and Three Rivers areas for this £350,000 investment because of the high incidence of cancer here compared to other regions in the UK. Initial research conducted by the charities showed that the diverse range of ethnic minority communities in these areas also have particular issues accessing cancer treatment and support.
Munashe Munyukwi, Macmillan Engagement Lead in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire, said:
"I am thrilled about our collaboration with One Vision. This partnership is pivotal to reaching and providing tailored cancer support services to multiethnic and faith communities. Our joint endeavour is not just about extending our reach; it's about deepening our impact and ensuring that every individual, regardless of their background, has access to appropriate, culturally sensitive cancer support at any stage of their journey, ensuring that the support we provide is not just practical but also resonates with the diverse needs of the people we serve.
"Through One Vision's extensive network and community-based approach, we are poised to bridge gaps in cancer support, particularly in underrepresented communities. Their proven track record in successful community engagement and health initiatives aligns with Macmillan's commitment to personalised cancer support."
Enoch Kanagaraj, Founder and Chief Executive of One Vision, says:
"Macmillan Cancer Support and One Vision are embarking on an exciting journey to create a shift in cancer support – one that is inclusive, accessible, and deeply rooted in the needs and values of the multiethnic and faith communities in the Watford area.
"Our goal is to transform patient outcomes, create supportive communities and networks and offer spaces for people living with cancer to share their experiences and provide mutual support.
"If anyone from these communities with cancer experience is interested in volunteering as a 'cancer champion', we'd love to hear from you."
Sharon Platt-McDonald, One Vision Trustee and Director of Health for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland, who has extensive experience working with national cancer projects, cancer patients and their families, states: "Our collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support to engage individuals and their families with lived experience of cancer, is critical to being able to provide tailored and relevant services to diverse communities. This will ensure the development of impactful, expansive amenities that increase access to cancer care for everyone. I am particularly excited about our development of a Community Connector and Cancer Champions team, which will bridge current gaps in community support. The aim is to reach and engage ethnically diverse individuals in developing suitable care that meets their holistic needs."
Peter Taylor, Mayor of Watford, offered his support to the project and said:
"I am delighted that this really important project will be taking place. Sadly, many of us have been impacted by cancer. I know Macmillan nurses do phenomenal work in communities across the country. It is really good to hear that One Vision will be working with them to provide support and advice in Watford. I hope this work makes a big, positive difference in many people's lives."
Dean Russell, MP for Watford, said:
"One Vision does such important work across our community, and this latest project with Macmillan Cancer Support further highlights their important role in reaching some of the most vulnerable individuals and families across Watford and wider in Hertfordshire. I look forward to hearing updates on this successful partnership with Macmillan and wish them all success."
If you are interested in getting involved in this work in Watford and volunteering as a 'cancer champion' within your community, please get in touch with Enoch Kanagaraj at Enoch@ovwatford.org
Feedback from focus groups discussing the potential benefits of the project:
"I feel that if our family had had a 'cancer champion', we would not have fallen apart the way we did when our mum died. It would have given us more preparation and someone else to turn to for support instead of just looking at each other. We were left floundering half the time without knowing where to get extra support." (Family member)
"My husband could have benefitted from someone like a 'cancer champion', as it would have given him someone else to talk to instead of just me. When you get external support, it makes you feel more valued." (Spouse)
"Can you imagine what it would be like for a family member to get a diagnosis of cancer, and the next thought is: 'Don't worry, at least there will be good support for us from people who look like us and understand where we are coming from'. That would make the 'bad news' of a cancer diagnosis more bearable." (Family member of recovered cancer patient)
"From what I have seen, support groups work very well. My sister attended a cancer support group, which she found really helpful. It was also great that someone in the group had a similar age and background. They helped each other get through what was a very turbulent time. My sister went into remission, but the other person had bouts of recurring cancer over the years. They have kept in touch, and the other individual sees my sister as a lifeline. That connection is helping her to cope with her cancer recurrence. My sister says the day she attended that support group was the day she now realises it set her on the road to recovery." (Family member)
For further information, please contact:
Heather Churchouse at email@example.com or call 07875 652950
Enoch Kanagaraj at Enoch@ovwatford.org or call 07702 566667
About Macmillan Cancer Support
At Macmillan, we give people with cancer everything we've got. If you're diagnosed, your worries are our worries. We will help you live life as fully as you can.
And we don't stop there. We're going all out to find ever better ways to help people with cancer, helping to bring forward the day when everyone gets life-transforming support from day one.
We'll do whatever it takes. For information, support or just someone to talk to, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk
About One Vision
Founded in August 2018, One Vision is a community-based, registered charity that provides practical support to vulnerable individuals and families. One Vision works with different communities, faiths, ethnic groups, charities, non–profits and government institutions. One Vision unites stakeholders to create strong community leadership and bring about real change.