In 2012, the Big Lottery Fund gave The Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL) £200,000 to guide older cancer patients through care in hospitals and homes across England. Now, older patients and carers are being trained to advocate for those affected by the condition.
In this guest blog, OPAAL’s Kath Parson introduces just one of the group’s success stories and explains why the Advocacy on the Wards project is so important.
Cancer. The Big C. A death sentence? It’s scary and a diagnosis can be instantly shattering.
Did you know that one in four people diagnosed with cancer in the UK will lack support from family and friends during their treatment and recovery? That represents more than 70,000 people each year.
More than half (53%) of healthcare professionals say patients have decided to skip treatment altogether because they have no support from family or friends while almost three-fifths (58%) of those who lack support during their treatment and recovery say it’s because their family and friends are too busy or live too far away.
These are just some of the headline statistics from a new report by Macmillan Cancer Support (PDF). It adds to a growing evidence base demonstrating the serious and detrimental impact of loneliness and isolation on our mental and physical health.
Advocacy cancer support services can help by working to help patients avoid loneliness. They can ultimately make a positive impact on older people’s mental and physical health and reduce the need for some primary health care services.
Richard Rogers is a cancer survivor who has had the illness three times over the last ten years. Despite this, he is now using his own experiences to support people who have been newly diagnosed.
Richard, who lives in Blandford, Dorset, says his priority is simply to listen and be led by the needs of his advocacy partner, something he has learned from the special training he received from OPAAL.
He discovered he had lung cancer after a routine x-ray following a car accident. “I was given a 50/50 chance of survival, but it was caught very early,” he explains. “Since then, I’ve had bladder and skin cancer, but I have put my trust in the doctors that everything will turn out OK.”
Richard has given valuable support to an elderly man recently diagnosed with lung cancer. “His family have told me that I did him the power of good,” he says. “He was very down and he thought his number was up.
“He’d been in hospital for about five weeks but he’d had the same operation as me and I look the picture of health – I think that gave him hope. He began to realise that it wasn’t all over and that he could get through it.”
Richard believes “Advocacy work is very rewarding, helping someone else gives you a real lift.”
You can find out more about the Advocacy on the Wards project on our OPAAL blog.
What do you think of Kath’s guest blog? Are you working on a BIG-funded project reaching out to those affected by cancer? Leave your comments below or join the conversation on Twitter using #biglf.
Big Lottery Fund (BIG) Chief Executive, Peter Wanless, explains why the UK must close the digital divide by building the basic online skills of people and organisations so they can take full advantage of the benefits the Internet has to offer.
BIG is today announcing an investment of up to £15 million to help, and in this blog Peter urges other organisations to connect people to online services that will improve their quality of life.
Most people think of the UK as digitally well connected. However, more than 16 million adults in the UK don’t have the basic online skills to benefit fully from the internet, and around 7.4 million have never used a computer or the Internet.
This means that some of the most vulnerable people in society are missing out on:
- Easy ways to find out about local events, meet new people and keep in contact with friends and relatives;
- Get the best prices for goods and services and find important information fast;
- Be as job-ready as they might be. Recent research by the Prince’s Trust (PDF) found that a significant proportion of young people looking for work lacked the digital capability to apply with confidence.
Leave this unchecked and the digital divide will only get wider. It’s an issue that a funder with a mission to support communities and people most in need cannot afford to ignore.
That’s why the Big Lottery Fund is a founder member of Go On UK and why we are demonstrating our commitment to addressing this matter by announcing that we will make up to £15 million available to those who can convincingly demonstrate how they will connect those who currently remain disconnected from online services that will improve their quality of life.
We expect the programme to be open for applications in the autumn. In the meantime we’re asking people to start thinking now about the partnerships they can establish that will convincingly inspire people across the UK to get online.
Our plan is only to make a very small number of transformational grants. Competition will be intense so consider how best you can draw on the skills, reach and influence of others.
We are at a turning point with digital technology when the actions we take now can define how society looks in the future.
Connecting everyone to online services in ways they will see as helpful and relevant will equip an entire nation with the chance to access a world that could otherwise remain closed in ways that will compound the disadvantage already felt by those most in need.
I look forward to other organisations pledging their support to the Go On UK cause and demonstrating how they can help connect the whole of the UK up to a future online.
Big Lottery Fund statement in response to The Guardian article: ‘Gay activists call for review of National Lottery grants’
The Big Lottery Fund supports over 12,000 projects a year and will fund religious groups to carry out specific activities that deliver social outcomes evidenced by need. All activities funded by us must be as accessible and inclusive as possible.
We will not fund activities that are specifically religious or proselytising in nature or that are contrary to our own equalities policy. Our mission is to help communities and individuals most in need and it is our experience that many religious groups can have unique access to some of those that are hardest to reach.
We take seriously the assessment of applicants and monitoring of our grants but at the same time we need to do this proportionately, based on the size of grant. This is to ensure that funding is accessible to all, not over burdensome for those, often small groups, applying, whilst at the same time keeping the overheads of awarding grants down.
As well as monitoring grants throughout their term, we thoroughly investigate all allegations of funding being misused or breaches of our terms and conditions and take appropriate and necessary action to ensure the proper use of funds.
In March this year, BIG held the third in its seminar series; ‘Getting to Grips with Replication’. Alongside Caroline Mason of Big Society Capital and Charlotte Ravenscroft of NCVO, Kerstin Junge spoke to the group about her experiences at The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, where she is part of a team evaluating BIG’s Realising Ambition programme. Her guest blog reflects on some key themes from the discussion…
So you’re delivering an intervention you know works, and you’re ready to replicate it. How do you go about doing it?
It’s important to acknowledge that replication means dealing with a lot of issues that you cannot know in advance or completely plan for. What are relevant local services, and how will you work with them?
How much will you need to change your intervention to meet new or different needs, and how much can you without affecting its effectiveness? How will replication affect your organisational processes and ways of working?
However much you think, plan and make use of the support available to you, definite answers to questions like these will only emerge through ‘doing’. Learning from experience is therefore a key aspect of successful replication.
Thinking of replication as a process of continuous improvement can help you achieve your replication objectives
A good way to think about replication is in terms of continuous improvement: progressing iteratively, collecting data as you go along and using this to review successes (or difficulties) in order to adjust replication strategies.
Projects funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Realising Ambition programme replicate in ‘waves’. They may start to replicate in a geographic area they know or have relationships in. This helps projects learn how to run the intervention elsewhere and also whether organisational ways of working need to be adjusted before replicating in less familiar territory.
They also have to really engage with the evidence base on their intervention to construct tight logic models. This has helped some develop a much deeper understanding of their intervention, how to best deliver it and of the importance of maintaining fidelity. Beneficiaries reached and outcomes achieved are continuously monitored, and this data is available to projects to learn from and act upon.
Discussions with other projects and participation in webinars or programme events triggers insights that are fed back into the replication venture.
How can you implement your replication project in a continuous improvement spirit?
Even if you’re not part of a programme like Realising Ambition, thinking of your replication project in continuous improvement terms can help you increase your chance of success. It gives you a practical framework to guide your replication activities, hence reducing the ‘unknowns’ you will be facing in this process.
But thinking of replication as continuous improvement means committing yourself to systematic collection of monitoring and evaluation data from the very beginning. It also means the team, project manager and senior executive involved in replication making the conscious decision – and having the ‘freedom’ – to use this data constructively, in a spirit of reflection and learning.
This means learning is not about being fearful of possible ‘bad’ results, but being open to understanding the reasons behind them and addressing these factors as part of the ongoing replication process. This is not easy. But in learning to work this way you are likely to be rewarded with better replication results.
Kerstin Junge is a Principal Researcher and Consultant at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.
What do you think of Kerstin’s guest blog? Join the discussion on Twitter using #BIGreplication or leave your comment below.
The ‘Getting to Grips with Replication’ seminar series has now finished. All the presentations and other material can be found on our website. If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Big Lunch aims to get communities together for a few hours of friendship and fun on the first Sunday in June each year. Since starting in 2009, and with support from the Big Lottery Fund, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in communities right across the UK.
In this guest blog, the Big Lunch’s Charlotte Johnstone reflects upon two recent events which have focused thoughts on the meaning of ‘community’ and celebrated the inspiring individuals who’ve brought local people closer together.
In a recent debate at the Royal Society of Arts, with a panel that included Linda Quinn, Director of Communications and Marketing at The Big Lottery Fund, we took the opportunity to ask the thought-provoking question; ‘Where does the responsibility for community lie?’
The debate was chaired by broadcaster and presenter Fi Glover, with contributions from Tim Smit, CEO of The Eden Project, and Jonathan Carr West, Chief Executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU).
‘Feeding the Community Spirit’, the report just released by LGiU about the social impact The Big Lunch has on communities, was the topic of discussion and it sparked a lively debate about the responsibility for community. You can get a copy of Jonathan Carr West’s report by emailing email@example.com.
The Big Lunch was last week also proud to hold The Big Lunch Community Awards at Clarence House. These were presented by The Big Lunch founder Tim Smit KBE and Big Lunch Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.
The awards were launched to recognise the positive and lasting impact made by The Big Lunch initiative in communities throughout the UK. It was our opportunity to give something back and show recognition of the community action taking place in villages, towns and cities across the UK.
35 nominees were shortlisted and a panel of judges including long standing Big Lunch Ambassador Barbara Windsor selected the 5 winners. These represented all four corners of the UK and the judges said it was hard to make a decision as the shortlisted entries were so inspiring.
In alphabetical order the winners were: Martin Sawers and Silvio Solorzano from Atley Court, Northamptonshire, Paul Kerrigan and Conor McCarry from Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, Emma Knight and Joel Al-Hattab from Ethel Street, South Wales, Dr Srihari Vallabhajousula and Mhairi Schmidt from the South Indian Cultural Centre in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, and Jess Phillips and her son Harry from Westfield Road, Birmingham.
Jess Phillips and her seven year old son Harry represented the residents of Westfield Road, Birmingham, and were chosen for an award for using The Big Lunch to strengthen community relations after their street fell victim to a series of arson attacks resulting in residents wanting to leave the area. They were invited to share their story on ITV’s This Morning on Wednesday 29 April alongside Barbara Windsor. You can also hear more from young Harry in the above video. Enjoy!
To get started for your Big Lunch on Sunday 2 June, just sign up for your free pack.
Charlotte Johnstone is a Big Lunch Support Officer