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Volunteer with cancer team encourages others to support service

A local volunteer who is working with an NHS cancer team is encouraging others to get on board and support the service.

Greg Hart, 67 from Newton Aycliffe, has been volunteering with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust's 'Talking About Cancer' (TAC) Team for three years now.

Based at the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre in the Pioneering Care Partnership Centre in Newton Aycliffe, Greg plays an important role signposting people and providing information and advice. He said: "I have had cancer and I lost my wife through cancer so I had been a patient and a carer. So I thought I've got the t-shirt and the badges so I might as well do something with it. And plus it helped me because it wasn't an easy time for me but it definitely helped talking to the staff. The support is there if you want it and that's important."

He added: "I think the reason people come to talk to us is that we are from a non medical background so they can just talk on a one to one basis. It's not as pressurised as what it is talking to a doctor or one of the other professionals."

The 'Talking About Cancer' Team works to promote the importance of early detection and increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer to the local communities across County Durham and Darlington.

Stephanie Esteris, from the TAC team said: "Volunteers offer enthusiasm, experience, knowledge and time which are invaluable in the work carried out by the service. The volunteers can offer a rich and diverse pool of experience as many of them have either gone through cancer themselves or been affected by it in some way.

"We support volunteers with training about the key aspects of the role, designed not only to increase their knowledge but to build on their confidence and to pass this on to members of the community. Working alongside volunteers helps to increase the capacity of the team meaning more people are exposed to the key messages which leads to increased awareness around the various cancers. Increased capacity also means that more venues can be targeted, more groups can be attended and ultimately more people seen."

Greg describes how he works with the team: "I think we are treated as one of the team, that's appreciated in every aspect of what we do, we basically support the staff".

"You get a lot of satisfaction out of the job and from when I first started it's gone far further than the job satisfaction I thought I was going to get, its absolutely brilliant. I thoroughly enjoy it. It has been an eye opener. Seeing how the team works not just on signposting people to the relevant people, but the advice that is given and how they go out to people and try to increase their knowledge and awareness is great, the job we do is very satisfying. I think we are a great team everybody gets on well together and the training and support is fantastic".

"I would encourage people to volunteer there is a lot of positives we can give people and it's our job to help people be more aware and positive around cancer. Yes people do die of cancer but there is a lot more people saved through early diagnosis and attending screenings. That is basically our main job to encourage people to get all the tests done, be aware of the symptoms and present early at their doctors. Don't be afraid to see the doctor because that is what they are there for at the end of the day".

If you are interested in volunteering with the Talking about Cancer team or would like some more information then the team will be at the following venues across County Durham and Darlington for drop in sessions or you can contact the team on 0800 783 4056.

Durham and Durham Dales

29 November 3.00-4.30 Barnard Castle Library

5 December 10.00-12.00 4 Clocks Centre Bishop Auckland

8 December 10.00 - 11.30 Bishop Auckland Library

12 December 10.00-11.30 Coundon Library

13 December 2.00-3.30 Bowburn Library


Easington Sedgefield and Darlington

23 Nov 9.30-11.30 Phillips and Wright Pharmacy Trimdon Village

23 Nov 9.15 - 12.00 Horden Sure Start

24 Nov Dolphin Centre Darlington

1 Dec  11.00 15.00 Byron Place Seaham Harbour

6 Dec  12.30 16.00 Peterlee Methodist Church

9 Dec   9.30 - 11.30 Meikles Chemist Blackhall

13 Dec           10.00 - 12.00 Cockerton Workingmans Club Darlington

16 Dec 14.30 16.00 Pioneering Care Centre Blood Donor Session Cobblers Way Newton Aycliffe

19 Dec 14.30 - 16.00 Spennymoor Town Hall Blood Donor Session

29 Dec 14.30 - 16.00 St Lukes Church Hall Ferryhill

Derwentside and Chester-Le-Street

17 Nov 13.00 - 15.00 Bus Station Stanley

17 Nov 12.00 14.00 Community Centre Annfield Plain

21 Nov 10.00 -12.00 Health Centre Stanley

23 Nov 11.30 - 14.00 B & Q Durham City Retail Park

25 Nov 9.30 - 12.30 Brockwell Centre Pelton Fell

28 Nov 9.30 - 12.00 Belle Vue Leisure Centre Consett

29 Nov 9.00 -12.00 Dentist Sacriston

30 Nov 1.00- 16.00 Dentist Sacriston

2 Dec   19.00 21.30 St Stephens South Stanley

5 Dec   10.00 -12.00   Library Consett

6 Dec 9.30 - 12.00 Leisure Centre Chester-Le- Street

7 Dec 14.00 - 16.00 Library Chester-Le-Street

9 Dec  10.00 -12.00 Health Centre Stanley

Published: 17 November 2011

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham