Our blog post today comes from Michelle Smith, Senior Lead Information and Support Specialist for Macmillan’s mobile information service.
Michelle and her team visit towns and events across Wales with the big green buses, Bertie and Betty. The buses host a wide range of booklets and leaflets, whilst Michelle’s team of information and support specialists are always on site to answer any questions or to have a chat.
Michelle shares her highlights from the service’s biggest year ever in Wales.
2016 has been an incredible year for the delivery of Mobile Information and Support across Wales. When I look back at all that Macmillan Wales and the Mobile Team have achieved this year, I am incredibly proud of the relationship that we have.
It is clear that our one passion and focus is to improve the experience for those affected by cancer, whether it be the person living with or beyond a cancer diagnosis or their friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues or employers.
When I think about why this year has been so special, there are several reasons:
We have reached more people than ever before
This year, our mobile information and support specialists reached over 15,000 people. This was over 3 times the number reached the year before.
We have had members of the Macmillan Wales team work alongside us frequently which has enabled visitors to find out more about local services and Welsh initiatives. This has strengthened the visitor experience considerably.
You can see more about the impact of the mobile unit in 2016 through our handy infographic here:
We have worked with more local professionals
In an effort to focus our work to the needs of the communities we visit, we have increased the number of local professionals we work with. We have been extremely fortunate to have worked alongside such dedicated teams including dieticians, skin cancer nurses, welfare rights and benefits advisors, head and neck nurses, information centre managers, urology nurses, and lymphoedema nurses to name just a few.
We have delivered cancer awareness talks for the first time in Wales
This has been the first year we have been able to deliver awareness talks that have focused on early diagnosis, local services and awareness of all of the services that are available from Macmillan.
We have held talks to community groups and in workplaces, both of which have allowed us to access people who would not have otherwise accessed information and support.
We have had a wonderful year at the bigger shows
This year, we have attended the Royal Welsh Show, Anglesey Show, Big Bite and Pembrokeshire Show as well as visiting new events such as the Llangollen Eisteddfod, Wonderwool and Liberty Stadium for a football match.
These bigger events allowed us to reach large numbers of people and raise awareness about all that Macmillan can offer.
It’s not all about the big shows!
We have had some very successful smaller scale work including attending a coffee morning for the villagers of Llanpumsaint where we hosted an information point. We have also delivered in Ebbw Vale market over the course of a 3 week period and we have trialled joining a mobile library in Bridgend which allowed us to reach people that are not able to get to main towns.
All in all, we have had a varied year but it has also been a year of learning. It is a year that has placed us in a strong place to build further as we move into 2017 and I can’t wait!
Wednesday 1 March: Castle Square, Swansea City Centre, 10am – 4pm
Thursday 2 March: Civic Square, Port Talbot, 10am – 4pm
Friday 3 March: Carmarthen & Carmarthen Livestock Market
Saturday 4 March: Swansea Liberty Stadium, Swansea City V Burnley match
Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April: Wonderwool, Builth Wells
Friday 26 May: Mold Diversity Festival
More dates to be confirmed for 2017.
If you are not able to visit the bus on any of these dates but have questions about cancer, please call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 0000.