People affected by cancer have a rich and valuable insight into the impact of cancer and treatments and Macmillan thinks we should use this insight and experience to help shape the kind of services we, and partner organisations, provide.
To this end, we worked with people affected by cancer, from across Scotland to develop our Scottish Involvement Group in 2014 to put people affected by cancer at the heart of the work we do.
It plays a key role in influencing how we spend our money developing services, what work we should prioritise in different parts of Scotland, how we should work with other health and social care partners and how we shape our policies for government to make sure cancer is on the agenda.
The Scottish Community of Influence is made up of the strategic Scottish Involvement Group and (the developing) 31 local groups across the country. To establish these groups, we have worked with local people affected by cancer and partners including health and social care providers in that area, existing support groups and other local community networks.
This means members are in the perfect position to represent the needs of their local community and help Macmillan deliver support on local issues. It also helps to ensure that as many communities as possible across Scotland are represented.
The local groups are key to the success of the Community of Influence and although people have been keen to get involved it will take time to get them established ensuring we are responding to changes in legislation such as the introduction of the Community Improvement Act. This has meant we have had to look at the way the groups have been set up and run to ensure they still respond to the needs of people affected by cancer, but in a way which fits into the legislative framework, to ensure meaningful change can be achieved.
No two local groups will look the same, but what has been interesting to see is how some have already identified for themselves what they feel will be beneficial for their local community in terms of support and services in their area.
But we still have a long way to go. It will be a couple of years before the Involvement Group is fully up and running and there is still work to be done to reach even more people affected by cancer and to bring their voices into the wider Community of Influence.
If you would like to know more about the work of the Scottish Involvement Group or to discuss how it was established and developed, please contact the Scottish Engagement Team by emailing us through the form below or at: firstname.lastname@example.org