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South Reading Cancer Project

What is the Project?

This is a pioneering project to raise cancer awareness and education amongst the culturally diverse populations and deprived communities of South Reading.

What are the Project timescales?

March 2017 to present.

What is the Project aiming to achieve?

  • Understand the reasons for disengagement amongst the different community groups
  • Work with local communities to remove barriers to accessing cancer services
  • Increase take-up of screening and early intervention opportunities, leading to earlier and faster diagnosis, earlier treatment and reduce emergency presentations in relation to cancer
  • Increase learning amongst clinicians, to understanding their communities’ cultural and access issues

Who are the key stakeholders?

This project is delivered collaboratively between the CCG, Macmillan and Rushmoor Healthy Living (RHL). Macmillan Cancer Support has provided the funding for this project with the actual community engagement work being done by RHL.

How has the project been delivered so far?

  • Initial Scoping – E.g. to understand the different communities in South Reading; to gain insight into their perspective of cancer and local cancer services; understand barriers and solutions
  • Cancer Champions – Following the initial scoping exercise, the project trained 25 volunteers from these communities to become Cancer Champions
  • Run Awareness Sessions – These Champions now run cancer awareness and education sessions in their own communities. By July 2019, 44 separate awareness sessions had been delivered reaching more than 1,900 people in South Reading
  • Network Events - Several network events have been organised to bring Cancer Champions together with health professionals including Cancer Champions establishing links with individual surgeries and Practice Managers
  • Literature - Community personised information leaflets have been produced in various languages. Picture only versions have also been created to cover any people with literacy or learning issues.

Project Successes

  • Established contacts and working with targeted communities including Polish, Nepalese, Punjabi, Sudanese, Afro Caribbean, Pakistani and Zambian; as well as BME, LGBTQ+, White British, White Non-British
  • Established contact with all 16 surgeries in South Reading, each of whom have their own dedicated Cancer Champions, who can provide a range of support for people. This could be translating during consultations, accompanying them to chemotherapy or radiotherapy, liaising with hospital transport, visiting them on the wards or back at home after treatment
  • Establishment of Cancer Self Help Group to enable the work to carry on long after this project finishes
  • The project has received positive publicity on BBC South News and BBC Radio Berkshire, with some of the Cancer Champions being interviewed. In addition, the project was chosen by Thames Valley Cancer Alliance to present at a National Earlier Diagnosis Conference in October 2019.

Next Steps

This project is due to be extended further to the West Berkshire area (Newbury & District) in 2019, with the work continuing in South Reading also. This will be funded again by Macmillan, who will work collaboratively with RHL, the CCG and the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

For more information, contact: Joe Bates, Macmillan Communications Officer. 07714 136667

Or Sally Moore, Communications and Engagement, Berkshire West CCG. 0118 322 7447or

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