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Encouraging more men to volunteer

6 October 2015

Our recent Foresight report revealed that men volunteer far less than women. In the first of two blogs, we hear from a spokesperson at the Dorset Macmillan Advocacy about Graham, a male advocacy volunteer who supports people living with cancer…

At Dorset Macmillan Advocacy, both our steering group and our team of volunteer advocates have good male representation, although we don’t manage to recruit as many men as we do women.

When three former service users were asked if the gender of their advocate was important to them, all three said it did not make a difference and that they simply wanted a good one. Of course, in some cases people might actively want an advocate of the same gender; for example, if they had a gender specific cancer. It is true that some of our male volunteers do seem to engage with their male advocacy partners in a particularly effective way. One partner even referred to his as being ‘like a brother’.

Graham-Willetts

Graham Willetts is on the steering group and Board of Trustees. As someone living with cancer himself, Graham was keen to help people in the same situation and joined the advocacy a year after his diagnosis. Having been an active member of his Parish Council for many years, he wanted to concentrate on developing cancer advocacy in Dorset. Graham has a professional background as a social worker, working in particular with disabled and older people.

Another reason Graham wanted to get involved was that because he was retired he missed the personal contact he used to have with people and the opportunity to challenge bad practice. Although he has learned how to be assertive in relation to his own care, he feels the nature of the disease means that even confident people can struggle and that it’s really useful to have someone else at appointments to ask questions.

Like Graham, volunteer advocates are generally motivated by wanting to help someone have a better experience than they themselves might have had. There are benefits for both parties and volunteers often report feeling ‘a lift’ as a result of their role.

Looking back, Graham feels that without the support he received, and his own ability to research his condition, he would have been ‘in a mess’. Having more male volunteer advocates join our service can only be a good thing and Graham and our other male volunteers would encourage other men to join.

Dorset Macmillan Advocacy, are parallel partners in Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL)’s Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project which is funded through the Big Lottery Fund’s Silver Dreams programme.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Harunur Rashid Khan permalink
    7 October 2015 4:09 pm

    I am interested in volunteering if the work place is in Central London. It will be more convenient for me if the work place is in Camden.

  2. Harunur Rashid Khan permalink
    7 October 2015 4:12 pm

    I like AFA

Trackbacks

  1. Meanderings of a Male Advocacy volunteer | The Big Lottery Fund Blog
  2. Meanderings of a Male Advocacy volunteer | Older People Living with Cancer
  3. Volunteer peer advocates on film | Older People Living with Cancer

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