Community Involvement Hub

Saying “Thank you” with a song!

Kath Jones is one of our Cancer Delivery Leads. Kath is a member of a ladies choir called the ‘Gilpin Singers’. One of the choir members, Beth Crawly joined the choir to aid her recovery after receiving treatment for cancer. After learning about Beth’s experience, the choir decided they would like to thank staff at Phoenix Oncology Day Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital for the care they had provided for Beth during her treatment. As a mark of their gratitude, the choir have planned an evening of singing that will take the audience back to the 60’s and 70’s. Further details of this charity event can be found by clicking here.

Being part of the ladies’ choir has meant a great deal to Beth, she says:

After treatment is over, your life can be in limbo and it is very common for low mood to set in. The enormity of what you have been through hits home whilst everyone else around you are relieved that treatment is over. You’re not well enough to jump back into the life you had and recovery time can be more isolating than the treatment itself as the routine of appointments and hospital visits has gone. I felt a little lost after my treatment but knew that I had to help myself so when the opportunity to join a choir came about, I was extremely keen on a number of levels. One, I was socialising again and had an evening out! This meant that I felt pretty normal not like a cancer patient. Secondly, singing was just wonderful; it was fun; it made me feel alive and full of joy as well as creating a new social environment to meet new people and friends. On the days following choir, my head was filled with the songs and my mood was high! The girls there were all fabulous and making new friends has been great too. Singing makes you feel you are living as well as giving something back as so many have enjoyed our performances too! Love choir days!!!!!

Good luck to all the choir members, we are sure the evening will be a great success!



‘Be Cancer Aware’ – Time to Talk About Cancer

‘Be cancer aware’ is FREE peer education training, designed to support people with learning disability, families and carers understand more about cancer. It is a co-design piece of work, aiming to engage people with a learning disability in design, delivery and evaluation and involved a number of organisations that support people with a learning disability. The training programme provides people with a opportunity to learn about cancer in a supportive environment using accessible information and audience participation. For further information on how to book a training session with a local peer education team, please click here.



Macmillan films – the benefits of engaging people affected by cancer

Macmillan has produced two short films about the benefits of engaging people affected by cancer in the development, design and delivery of cancer services.  The films – one aimed at people affected by cancer and one at professionals – are the culmination of over a year’s work with a group of patients, carers and healthcare staff, who want to share their enthusiasm for engagement with others.

The project has been truly collaborative, bringing people who’ve had a cancer diagnosis and those that care for them together with cancer professionals to shape the project with their knowledge and experience.  Together they agreed key messages and audiences, appointed a video producer & came up with a concept, wrote the scripts and starred in the films.  The group have been so committed to the project and I’m really proud of what they’ve achieved. To view the film aimed at people affected by cancer click here and to view the film aimed at professionals click here.


Patients & Carers Making a Difference

There are currently four cancer patient and carer groups who meet in the NCA region. Membership consists of patients, carers and health professionals.  They are all supported by their local NHS Trust Lead Cancer Nurse and have links with Healthwatch, PALS, and CCG’s.

Group members represent the voice of cancer patients, their families and carers. Their aim is to improve cancer services and the experience of people affected by cancer in their local area. They can also provide an opportunity for members to suggest ways of improving services and contribute to cancer initiatives.

All of the groups are keen to attract new members who are willing to contribute and hopefully help develop solutions to issues raised. For further information please see the information below:

City Hospitals Sunderland Cancer Patient & Carer Group – for further information please email

Northumbria Cancer Patient & Carer Group – for further information email or call 07817 515265. Alternatively access the group’s website at

County Durham & Darlington Cancer Patients & Carers Group – for further information please access the group’s website at

North Tees & Hartlepool Cancer Patient & Carer Group – for further information please ring Alan Chandler on  01642 383041 or email


North Tyneside Cancer Plan – Get Involved!

The North Tyneside Cancer Plan has been developed specifically for the people of North Tyneside and aims to increase prevention, speed up diagnosis, improve the experience of patients and help people living with and beyond the disease.

The Cancer Locality Group would like to invite residents to get involved with this important piece of work. The invitation is open to anyone who has been touched by cancer or who feels passionately about improving health outcomes in North Tyneside.

The group are asking people to come together and work in partnership with health professionals to review and develop the cancer plan for North Tyneside, ensuring that the experience of cancer patients and their families is central to all aspects of their work.

For further information or if you’d like to get involved, contact Donna Sample on 0191 293 1140 or email


Working partnership with patients to developing important patient information

County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has recently launched a new patient information film that provides patients and families with important information about the urgent “2 Week Wait” referral. This film was developed in partnership with patients and carers from across the County Durham and Darlington area with aim of providing helpful and accessible information for patients whose GP has referred them for an urgent “2 Week Wait” appointment at the hospital.

To view the “2 Week Wait” patient information film, please click here 


Congratulations to a member of NCA public involvement project steering group!

Massive congratulations to Kirsty who is a member of Alliance project steering group. Kirsty has been named as one of the 60 winners of the first Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List. Kirsty was named a winner in the Changing Communities category. This is a national award and organisers received nearly 600 nominations! We are all extremely proud of Kirsty and very grateful for her contribution to the NCA public involvement project.

For further information about Kirsty’s award please click the following link:


Sharing experiences of cancer care and treatment:

Healthwatch is the independent national champion for people who use health and social care services. Their sole purpose is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf. They focus on ensuring that people’s worries and concerns about current services are addressed.

There is a local Healthwatch in every area in England. They are there to listen to what you like about services and what you think could be improved. No matter how big or small the issue, they want to hear about it. If you have an experience of cancer treatment and care you would like share, please click on your local Healthwatch below to access their website:

Healthwatch County Durham 

Healthwatch Cumbria

Healthwatch Darlington

Healthwatch Gateshead

Healthwatch Hartlepool

Health Middlesborough

Healthwatch Sunderland

Healthwatch Newcastle

Healthwatch North Tyneside

Healthwatch Northumberland

Healthwatch North Yorkshire

Healthwatch Redcar and Cleveland

Healthwatch South Tyneside

Healthwatch Stockton on Tees